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JOHN SPENCER v. ZONING HEARING BOARD ROCKLAND TOWNSHIP (11/13/87)

decided: November 13, 1987.

JOHN SPENCER, APPELLANT
v.
ZONING HEARING BOARD OF ROCKLAND TOWNSHIP, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County in the case of John Spencer v. Zoning Hearing Board of Rockland Township, No. 294 October, 1985.

COUNSEL

Francis F. Seidel, III, for appellant.

Alfred W. Crump, Jr., Ward and Crump, for appellee.

Judges Craig and MacPhail, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 112]

John Spencer (Appellant) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County which dismissed his appeal and affirmed the order of the Zoning Hearing Board of Rockland Township (Board) denying

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 113]

Appellant's application for a variance from Sections 502 and 1223 of the Rockland Township Zoning Ordinance (Zoning Ordinance). We affirm.

Appellant leases an eleven acre tract of land from his father and he has applied for a zoning variance to permit him to maintain two mobile homes, permanently affixed to concrete foundations, on the property. The property is zoned R-2 Rural Residential and as such, permits, inter alia, single-family detached dwelling, provided the dwelling is "upon a lot with frontage upon a public street improved to meet the Township's standards, or upon a lot with a fifty (50) foot, fee simple, access extending from an existing public street."*fn1 Section 502 requires certain lot size, lot width and setback restrictions which are not at issue here. Appellant's property neither fronts upon an existing township road nor does it possess a fifty foot, fee simple, access extending from an existing public street.

Since approximately 1965, there has existed on the property one mobile home which was originally placed on the property by Appellant's father, and which the Board concedes is a valid pre-existing non-conforming use. At issue here is a second mobile home which, as found by the Board, was placed on the property sometime after 1965, was removed from the property in 1969 for a period of three years and was replaced by another mobile home shortly before 1984.*fn2 Shortly after this second mobile home was placed on the property in

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 1141984]

, Appellant was notified by the Township Supervisors that it had to be removed since his property did not possess the required frontage on an existing township road nor did it have a fifty foot, fee simple access extending from an existing township road.*fn3 The only access to Appellant's property is by way of a twenty foot lane which extends from an existing township road over an adjoining landowner's property which Appellant contends is a prescriptive easement.

Following two hearings, the Board denied Appellant's application for a variance. On appeal, the Court of Common Pleas dismissed Appellant's ...


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