Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County in case of Raymond Rodgers and Arthur Hoover v. Codorus Township, No. 82-S-2343.
Gilbert G. Malone, Malone & Neubaum, for appellant.
Edward B. Golla, for appellees.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Rogers, Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Craig. Judge Williams, Jr., did not participate in the decision in this case.
Codorus Township appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County which reversed the township zoning hearing board's decision rejecting a constitutional attack on provisions of the township's zoning ordinance dealing with the preservation of agricultural land. We must determine*fn1 whether the common pleas court properly concluded that the Supreme Court decision in Hopewell Township Board of Supervisors v. Golla, 499 Pa. 246, 452 A.2d 1337 (1982) (Golla), mandates the invalidation of a zoning provision that precludes division of productive farmland into tracts of less than fifty acres.
In 1952, William and Esther Hoover acquired two contiguous tracts of land in Codorus Township.
Tract 1 consisted of twenty-four acres, and tract 2 contained thirty acres. In 1975, the township adopted its first zoning ordinance. That ordinance provided in section 302 that contiguous tracts owned by the same owner as of December 7, 1974 would be considered a single tract for purposes of the zoning ordinance. Therefore. the Hoovers' two tracts of land constituted one fifty-four-acre tract under the new ordinance.
In 1978, the Hoovers transferred the original thirty-acre tract 2 and a fifty-foot strip of tract 1 to Raymond Rodgers and Arthur Hoover. By letter dated September 25, 1981, the Codorus Township solicitor notified Rodgers and Hoover that their purchase of the thirty-acre tract was in violation of township ordinances. In January, 1982, Rodgers and Hoover filed with the Zoning Hearing Board of Codorus Township a challenge attacking the validity of various sections of the zoning ordinance as unreasonably restrictive, and stating their intention to divide their thirty-one-acre tract into three equal parcels for single-family residence and agricultural purposes.*fn2
After two evidentiary hearings, the zoning hearing board rejected Hoover's and Rodgers' challenge and upheld the validity of section 302 (treating contiguous tracts owned by the same owner as a single tract), section 1204 (requiring a $250 filing fee for a petition challenging validity of ordinance), section 504*fn3 (providing a sliding scale as to single-family dwellings
permitted on a tract, based on the acreage of the tract), and section 503*fn4 ...