Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County in the case of In Re: The Appeal of Lloyd B. Heller from the decision of the Salisbury Township Zoning Hearing Board, No. 532 of 1985.
Jeffrey Philip Paul, May and May, for appellant.
John A. Kenneff, with him, Thomas L. Goodman, Goodman and Kenneff, for appellee.
Judges MacPhail and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 101 Pa. Commw. Page 565]
Lloyd B. Heller (Heller) appeals from a decision of the Lancaster County Common Pleas Court which upheld a decision of the Zoning Hearing Board (Board) of Salisbury Township (Township) denying Heller's appeal from a determination of the Township's Zoning Officer that two truck trailers on his land violated the Township's Zoning Ordinance. We reverse the Common Pleas Court.
The pertinent facts are not in dispute. Heller's parcel of land is leased by a tenant farmer who farms a portion of it. The parcel includes some woodland which was the site of extensive logging operations in the mid-1950's. Heller's son testified at the hearing before the Board that his father and he are currently taking firewood off the property*fn1 and will likely log the area extensively again in the near future.*fn2 In December 1979, Heller placed one thirty-two foot and one forty-foot truck trailer on the parcel approximately 165 feet from the road. The trailers were moved there with a bulldozer. The truck trailers are supported at the rear by their wheels, axles and tires and at the front by their dollies. No foundation supports them. One trailer contains hay and straw and the other contains a variety of items, including a plow and some chains and cables which could be used in timber work.
[ 101 Pa. Commw. Page 566]
On October 23, 1984, the Township's Zoning Officer sent Heller a notice stating that the trailers were in violation of the Township's Zoning Ordinance and that they must be removed. On November 21, 1984, Heller filed an appeal with the Board. The Board, after a hearing at which only Heller's son and another resident of the Township who was not opposed to the trailers testified, decided to uphold the Zoning Officer's determination. The Common Pleas Court, without taking additional testimony, affirmed the Board.
This Court's scope of review in a zoning case such as this one, where the Court of Common Pleas has taken no additional evidence, is limited to a determination of whether the zoning hearing board abused its discretion, committed an error of law or made necessary factual findings which are not supported by substantial evidence in the record. DiMartino v. Zoning Hearing Board of Newtown Township, 93 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 498, 502 A.2d 294 (1985). In the instant case, the sole issue is whether Heller's use of the trailers falls within the permitted uses specified in the Zoning Ordinance. This is clearly a question of law subject to this Court's review. See Ethken Corp. Appeal, 89 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 612, 493 A.2d 787 (1985).
Heller's parcel is zoned as an "Open Space District" to which the following portion of the Township's Zoning Ordinance applies:
a. Forest uses related to the harvesting of lumber ...