Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Venango County, in case of In The Matter of the Appeal of Joseph F. Rizzone and Rose M. Rizzone, his wife, from a decision of the Zoning Hearing Board relative to City Lot No. 8244 situate in the Fourth Ward of the City of Oil City, Venango County, Pennsylvania, No. 123-1981.
Marietta E. Rizzone, for appellants.
Robert W. McFate, McFate, McFate, McFate, Williams & McFate, for appellee.
Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 504]
The pivotal question in this zoning appeal is whether a structure added to a residential lot constitutes a "private garage" permitted by the ordinance as an accessory use and as an exemption from maximum lot coverage requirements, where the ground level of the structure provides for the parking of two motor vehicles but its higher level consists of a business office not disclosed at the time of the permit application.
The appellant landowners are Mr. and Mrs. Rizzone, who have appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Venango County which affirmed a decision of the Oil City Zoning Hearing Board holding the already-erected structure to be a violation and denying a variance for it.
Oil City's zoning ordinance, in section 202.2, prohibits the coverage of more than 35% of the area of a lot in the R-2 residential district by structures. Section 202.1, however, allows "private garages" as permitted accessory structures to residences and, together with section 102.2, exempts them from maximum coverage and certain other area requirements.
The landowners, in June, 1979, obtained a permit by submitting an application for a "20 X 24 GARAGE" to be erected at an estimated cost of $5,000.
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 505]
The landowners proceeded to build a two-car garage, twenty feet by twenty-four feet, but they also constructed an office in the level of the structure above the ground floor level, expending a total cost of $20,000. In November, 1980, the zoning officer of the city, deeming the construction to be in violation, notified the landowners that it could be validated only if they applied for, and received, a variance from the zoning hearing board. The board's conclusion, affirmed by the trial court, was that the inclusion of the office space caused the result to be a violation of the ordinance, not a "private garage" as permitted by it.
Permitted Use Interpretation
The landowners first claim that the structure they erected does conform to the private garage definition and is therefore a permitted use exempt from the coverage and area requirements. They quote section 102.2 of the ...