Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of West Torresdale Civic Association, Fairway Civic Association et al. v. Zoning Board of Adjustment and The City of Philadelphia, No. 2237 August Term, 1984.
James J. Martin, Martin and Martin, P.C., for appellants.
Joy J. Bernstein, Assistant City Solicitor, for appellee, Zoning Board of Adjustment and City of Philadelphia.
William K. Doak, with him, Sheldon L. Albert and Richard A. Sprague, Sprague, Thall & Albert, for appellee, Potamkin Chevrolet.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Colins, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr.
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The West Torresdale Civic Association and other neighborhood entities and individuals*fn1 (Neighbors) appeal a Philadelphia County Common Pleas Court order
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affirming a Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment (Board) decision which granted a variance to Potamkin Chevrolet, Inc. (Potamkin) allowing commercial use of two tracts of land. We reverse.
The subject tracts are contiguous, total 7.7 acres, and are located in the vicinity of the northeast corner of Grant Avenue and Academy Road. The tracts are splitzoned R-3 and R-4 residential.*fn2 However, because they lie within the flight path controls for the nearby Northeast Philadelphia Airport, residential development of the tracts is prohibited by local and federal aviation regulations. The tracts are wooded and completely unimproved.
The tracts are bordered to the south by Potamkin's car dealership along Grant Avenue. Potamkin leased the tracts from the City of Philadelphia (City), contingent upon zoning approval of commercial uses connected with its dealership.*fn3 It applied to the City's Department
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of Licenses and Inspection for use and zoning permits allowing (1) erection of an eight-foot high chain link fence around the tracts' perimeter, and (2) use of the tracts "for outdoor parking, display, storage and sale of motor vehicles and accessories with accessory parking for customers and employees," with "parking on grade less than 10% with suitable barriers and lighting to be erected." This application was denied because the fence height and commercial uses requested are not authorized in R-3 and R-4 districts. Potamkin then appealed to the Board for a variance conforming to its use and zoning permit applications. Following a public hearing at ...