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RICHARD E. CONNERS & NANCY CONNERS v. ZONING HEARING BOARD CHIPPEWA TOWNSHIP AND COMMUNITY ALCOHOLISM SERVICES BEAVER COUNTY (04/18/85)

decided: April 18, 1985.

RICHARD E. CONNERS & NANCY CONNERS, HUSBAND AND WIFE ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
THE ZONING HEARING BOARD OF CHIPPEWA TOWNSHIP AND COMMUNITY ALCOHOLISM SERVICES OF BEAVER COUNTY, INC., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County in case of Richard E. Connors and Nancy Connors, et al. v. The Zoning Hearing Board of Chippewa Township and Community Alcoholism Services of Beaver County, Inc., No. 1379 of 1981 and No. 406 of 1983.

COUNSEL

Samuel J. Orr, III, for appellants.

J. Philip Colavincenzo, for appellee, Zoning Hearing Board of Chippewa Township.

Robert J. Fall, for appellee, Community Alcoholism Services of Beaver County, Inc.

Judges MacPhail, Doyle and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle. Judge Williams, Jr., did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Doyle

[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 626]

On August 31, 1983, the Beaver County Court of Common Pleas determined that the operation of La Casa, a residential facility housing approximately twenty-four recovering alcoholics, is a permitted use in an R-1 district under Chippewa Township's Zoning Ordinance. Appellants herein are neighbors of La Casa. Appellees are the Zoning Hearing Board of Chippewa Township (zoning hearing board) and the

[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 627]

    operators of La Casa, Community Alcoholism Services of Beaver County, Inc. (CAS).

Appellees CAS originally applied to the zoning hearing board for a variance on the La Casa property in March of 1981. A hearing was held the following month, and in June of 1981, the zoning hearing board granted the variance, determining that La Casa was a permitted use in an R-1 district, and, alternatively, that the requirements for a variance had been satisfied. Several of La Casa's neighbors appealed to the Beaver County Court of Common Pleas alleging both notice defects and substantive errors. On September 21, 1981, the common pleas court affirmed the zoning hearing board on all grounds. An appeal was then taken to this Court and the decision was reversed on the basis of defective notice only. Appeal of Conners, 71 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 213, 454 A.2d 233 (1983). After correcting the notice defects, the zoning hearing board held a second hearing. On March 22, 1983, the board affirmed its first decision. An appeal was again taken to the common pleas court, which held its own evidentiary hearing on July 14, 1983, and then issued the decision which is the subject of this appeal. The variance issue was not addressed in the trial court's opinion.

On the basis of a stipulated record consisting of all testimony heard by the zoning hearing board as well as the testimony taken at its own hearing, the common pleas court made extensive findings of fact. These can be summarized relatively briefly as follows:

The stated primary goal of La Casa is the education of those who wish to live without alcohol. The various means employed to accomplish this goal include films, mandatory attendance at Alcoholics' Anonymous meetings, counseling ...


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