Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Edward J. Angle and Catherine M. Angle v. The Zoning Hearing Board of the Borough of Dormont, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania v. The Borough of Dormont, No. SA 718 of 1982.
Phillip D. Paull, for appellant.
John C. Mohan, for appellee.
Judges Williams, Jr., Craig and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Colins.
The Borough of Dormont appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which reversed a decision of the Dormont Zoning Hearing Board denying a permit to enclose the front porch of the dwelling owned by Edward and Catherine Angle.
The owners' lot, measuring thirty feet by one-hundred-ten feet, is located in an R 1-A Residential Zone. Since 1927*fn1 the property has been subject to a twenty-foot building setback line. In conformity with the ordinance, the edge of the dwelling itself is set back twenty feet from the street line, although a roofed porch extends six feet, seven and one-half inches (6'7 1/2") by twelve feet five inches (12'5") into the front yard.*fn2 The porch extension into the front
yard, however, is permissible because the porch was built in the period before 1968, during which roofed porches were permitted to extend into front yard areas without any limitation.
The owners applied for a variance to allow them to enclose the porch to create a larger living room. The board, which reached no finding nor conclusion concerning any legal nonconformity status, denied the variance. The borough here challenges the action of the trial court which, on appeal to it, rejected the concept of nonconforming use expansion but nevertheless ordered that a variance be granted to enclose the porch.
In zoning cases, where, as here, the trial court has received no additional evidence, our scope of review is limited to determining whether the Board abused its discretion or committed an error of law. Somerton Civic Association v. Zoning Board of Adjustment, 80 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 173, 471 A.2d 578 (1984).
The owners now contend primarily that they should be permitted to enclose their porch on the basis that it would be a logical, reasonable and natural extension of a nonconforming use, relying upon Yocum Zoning Case, 393 Pa. 148, 141 A.2d 601 (1958). That case involved a two-story frame single family dwelling, later converted into a two-family dwelling, with an apartment on each floor, whose westerly front half, an extension of the first floor living room, was approximately seventeen feet from the street line and whose easterly front half was approximately twenty-five feet from the street line, although a porch extended from that point approximately eight feet, so that the front edge of the porch was approximately seventeen feet (17') ...