Before Honorable Theodore O. Rogers, Judge Honorable David W. Craig, Judge Honorable John A. MacPHAIL, Judge
[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 518]
Wimbledon Court Associates, Inc., developer of a proposed townhouse project in Lower Paxton Township, has appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County which reversed the township zoning hearing board's affirmance of approvals granted by the township's planning commission and governing body (Board of Supervisors) under applicable provisions of the zoning regulations and subdivision regulations of the township.
At the heart of some crucial confusion in this case is the fact that Lower Paxton Township has taken the
[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 519]
commendable step of codifying its ordinances into a comprehensive codification, Part Eleven of which is entitled "Planning and Zoning Code" and contains not only zoning provisions adopted under article VI of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, as amended, §§ 601-619, 53 P.S. §§ 10601-10619, but also subdivision and land development regulations under article V, §§ 501-515 of the MPC, 53 P.S. §§ 10501-10515.
The trial judge correctly held -- and the point is no longer in dispute here -- that the zoning provisions of the township expressly provide for the approval of a cluster subdivision of townhouses as a conditional use in the R-1 Low Density Residence District, in which the only unconditionally-permitted use is single-family dwelling. Lower Paxton Codified Ordinances, §§ 1173.03, 1193.07(j)(1), (3), (6)B.
Hence, the sole issue arises from the undisputed fact that this developer's proposed cluster subdivision plan of townhouses would provide street access to fifty-six dwelling units by a permanent cul-de-sac, contrary to the township's section 1117.04 which reads:
(a) Culs-de-sac, permanently designed as such . . . shall furnish access to not more than twenty (20) dwelling units.
The township planning commission and governing body modified that standard under the provisions of the ordinance section which is pivotal in this case, § 1117.01 in article 1117, entitled "Design Standard Minimum Requirements," within the "Planning and Zoning Code" part of the ordinance codification. In its entirety, § 1117.01 reads as follows:
1117.01 APPLICATION OF REGULATIONS.
The design standards and requirements outlined in this article ...