Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Vincent and Helen Soltis, Helen Spano, Ada Gorby, George and Donna Thomas, Tom and Chris Goss, Dorothy Blumenfeld, Eleanor Evans Dusenberry, Don and Peggy Borrebach, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Staderman, Mr. and Mrs. David Wiener, Mr. and Mrs. Irwin Lewenstein, Dr. and Mrs. Stanley Geyer and Margaret Crowley v. A. R. Tasir and Joyce Wahlah, and Zoning Board of Adjustment of the City of Pittsburgh, No. SA 445 of 1982.
Gordon David Fisher, with him Darlene M. Nowak, Titus, Marcus & Shapira, for appellants.
Joel P. Aaronson, Baskin and Sears, P.C., for appellees.
Judges Rogers, Barry and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barbieri.
[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page 552]
Appellants, residents in the immediate vicinity of property owned by the appellees, A. R. Tasir and Joyce Wahlah, appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which affirmed a decision of the Zoning Board of Adjustment (Board) of the City of Pittsburgh (City), granting the appellees' request for a special exception*fn1 to enlarge and rehabilitate their nonconforming structure. We reverse.
[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page 553]
The appellees are owners of property located in an area of the city zoned as a "R-2 Two Family Residence District," permitting one or two family dwellings.*fn2 The subject property is a three story brick residential structure whose history predates the City's original zoning ordinance, passed in 1923, when the property was used as a private hospital/sanitarium, a use continued until 1936, when the then owners of the property requested from the Board permission to convert the use of their property to that of a six family dwelling unit. The Board granted this request, noting that the City's zoning ordinance provided at that time that a nonconforming use could be changed to another nonconforming use of the same or higher classification as a matter of right, without Board approval. It is undisputed that the use of the subject property as a hospital/sanitarium and as a six family unit, constituted a valid nonconforming use until 1936.
Subsequent to the owners' request in 1936, later that same year, the owners requested from the Board that they be given permission to convert their property to that of a conforming use, a two family dwelling. This request was granted by the Board, although the Board found in the present proceedings, that the appellees' property was never used as a two family dwelling, but rather continued as a six family unit. The Board also found that by 1950, four rooming quarters had been installed in the subject property, which under the City's ordinance at that time, were permitted as of right in a six family unit.
In November 1981, the appellees applied to the Board for a special exception to enlarge and rehabilitate
[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page 554]
their structure pursuant to Section 909.06(b)(17) of the City's ordinance, which permits by way of a special exception, the enlargement and/or rehabilitation of a nonconforming structure or nonconforming use. Specifically, the appellees sought to:
1. Erect a one-story extension to the front of the existing building,
2. Erect a two-story extension to the rear of the existing building,
3. Occupy the structure as a ten unit multiple family dwelling with ten parking stalls,*fn3
4. Reduce the front yard requirement from 30' to 19.25',
5. Reduce the rear yard requirement from 30' ...