Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in the case of Appeal of Leandro Angelone from the decision of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Springfield, No. 83-03427.
Edward J. Morris, Edward J. Morris, P.C., for appellant.
James J. Garrity, with him, Barbara R. Watkins, Wisler, Pearlstine, Talone, Craig and Garrity, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Barry, and Senior Judge Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry. Dissenting Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr.
[ 100 Pa. Commw. Page 194]
This appeal results from an order of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas which affirmed the decision of the Springfield Township Zoning Hearing Board (Board) denying the Petition for Special Exception sought by the appellant, Leandro Angelone (appellant).
Appellant, a funeral director, filed the petition seeking to use his "residence, and a proposed single story addition thereto, as a professional office, for the conducting of funeral viewings." The petition further averred that "[t]here will be no embalming done on the premises[,] nor will there be a casket showroom on the premises." After a hearing was held the Board denied the petition. The basis for that decision was that the proposed use did not constitute the operation of a "professional office," a use permitted by special exception in the "B Residential" district in which the property was located. The trial court affirmed and appellant then pursued the present appeal.
Our review is, of course, limited to a determination of whether the Board committed either an abuse of discretion
[ 100 Pa. Commw. Page 195]
or an error of law. Zoning Hearing Board of Mahoning Township v. Zlomsowitch, 87 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 123, 125, 486 A.2d 568, 569 (1984). Appellant maintains that the Board committed error in concluding that his proposed operation of conducting funerals was not the maintenance of a "professional office." We affirm.
Section 114-14E of the Springfield Township Zoning Code provides as follows:
A professional office or home occupation shall be a permitted accessory use when authorized by special exception. . . . A professional office shall be understood to include the office or studio of a doctor for the treatment of humans, dentist, teacher, artist, architect, musician, lawyer, magistrate or practitioner of similar character.
Id. Construing this section, the Board concluded that "the conduct[ing] of a funeral home with or without embalming is not a professional activity" within the meaning of the ordinance. Board Decision at 4. This conclusion, in turn, was reached on the pivotal grounds that "undertaking and embalming" establishments ...