Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, in case of In Re: Appeal of Mason A. Crawford and Joy Crawford, his wife, from the decision of the Upper Southampton Township Zoning Hearing Board, No. 84-04554-09-1.
Edward F. Murphy, with him, Caroline F. Achey, McBride and Murphy, for appellants.
William Terwilliger, Pro Se, with him, Elizabeth Terwilliger, for appellees.
Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 52]
Mason Crawford and his wife (Appellants) appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, which affirmed an order of the Upper Southampton Township Zoning Hearing Board (Board) denying Appellant's request for a variance by estoppel. We affirm.
In 1955, Appellants bought a one-and-one-quarter acre lot in Upper Southampton Township (Township)
[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 53]
zoned R-2 residential in order to construct a residence for themselves and their family. Mr. Crawford was a masonry contractor. He used the property to store materials for his business. Upon the completion of his residence in 1958, Mr. Crawford conducted his contracting business, which had become a full-time operation, from his home via telephone. Mr. Crawford at that time employed a part-time secretary and members of his family in the business. He used his home and garage to store business records, tools, other equipment and small amounts of building materials. From 1955 through at least 1965, many of Mr. Crawford's neighbors also operated construction contracting businesses out of their homes in a similar manner.
Mr. Crawford's ability to work as a masonry contractor became impaired, however, due to a back ailment. He then began specializing in commercial caulking for home builders. Since 1965, Mr. Crawford has been exclusively in the caulking business and has employed as many as nine workers and utilized as many as six vans. Generally, the tools and equipment for this business, as well as most of the 55-gallon drums of caulk, were stored in Appellants' three-car garage. He stored his ladders outside, however, and, in warm weather he also stored the 55-gallon drums of caulk outside. One or more of the vans used in Mr. Crawford's business were always parked in the driveway of his residence.
Mr. Crawford constructed a storage shed and an addition to the garage, both of which he used for business purposes. He also erected fencing and planted extensive shrubbery in order to minimize the impact of the business operation upon his neighbors.
There were no complaints regarding Mr. Crawford's business until 1972. In that year, William Terwilliger, Appellants' neighbor, complained to the Township manager, ...