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INDEPENDENT FIRE COMPANY NO. 1 v. BOROUGH SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT ZONING HEARING BOARD (06/13/86)

decided: June 13, 1986.

INDEPENDENT FIRE COMPANY NO. 1, APPELLANT
v.
BOROUGH OF SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT ZONING HEARING BOARD, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County in the case of Independent Fire Company No. 1 v. Borough of South Williamsport Zoning Hearing Board, No. 84-01917.

COUNSEL

James R. Protasio, for appellant.

Sanford S. Marateck, Lark, Makowski, Marateck & Konopka, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Colins and Senior Judge Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 98 Pa. Commw. Page 154]

Independent Fire Company No. 1 (Independent) has appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County affirming the action of the Borough of South Williamsport Zoning Hearing Board (Board) granting a dimensional variance to Stop 'N Go Foods of Mid-Penn, Inc. (Stop 'N Go).

Stop 'N Go has a written agreement to purchase a parcel of land in the Borough of South Williamsport (Borough), located in the B-1 Commercial zoning district. It filed with the Board an application for a special exception for a gas station cum convenience store and requested a variance to permit a 12 foot rear yard instead of the required 25 feet. The Board granted the variance. It refused the special exception with leave to file a revised application.

Stop 'N Go submitted a revised application for special exception which proved to be satisfactory to the Board. However, it modified the variance request to one which would allow a rear yard setback of only five

[ 98 Pa. Commw. Page 155]

    feet. The Board granted the application for special exception and the variance as well.

Independent, whose land adjoined the rear line of Stop 'N Go's property, has appealed only the grant of the variance. The Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, without receiving evidence, affirmed.

We, as was the court of common pleas, are asked to review the Board's action for an abuse of discretion or error of law. Filanowski v. Zoning Board of Adjustment, 439 Pa. 360, 266 A.2d 670 (1970); Pyzdrowski v. Pittsburgh Board of Adjustment, 437 Pa. 481, 263 A.2d 426 (1970).

Independent contends that the Board's adjudication is of no effect because the Board failed to make the findings required by Section 912 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC),*fn1 supporting the applicant's allegation that the provisions of the zoning ordinance inflict unnecessary hardship. The statute just cited provides that zoning hearing boards must in granting a variance make the following findings where relevant: (1) that there are unique physical circumstances or characteristics peculiar to the property in question causing the unnecessary hardship, (2) that because of such physical circumstances or conditions there is no possibility that the property can be developed in strict conformity with the ordinance and that the variance is necessary to enable a reasonable use of the property, (3) that the unnecessary hardship has not been created by the applicant, (4) that the variance will not alter the character of the neighborhood or other property, nor impair the use or ...


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