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SHADYSIDE ACTION COALITION v. ZONING BOARD ADJUSTMENT CITY PITTSBURGH AND JOSEPH DESTEFINO (02/16/88)

decided: February 16, 1988.

THE SHADYSIDE ACTION COALITION, A NON-PROFIT PENNSYLVANIA CORPORATION, APPELLANT
v.
THE ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH AND JOSEPH DESTEFINO, APPELLEES. WALNUT STREET ASSOCIATES, APPELLANT V. THE ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH AND JOSEPH DESTEFINO, APPELLEES



Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in cases of The Shadyside Action Coalition, a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation v. The Zoning Board of Adjustment of the City of Pittsburgh and Joseph DeStefino, No. S.A. 556 of 1983, and in case of Walnut Street Associates v. The Zoning Board of Adjustment of the City of Pittsburgh, No. S.A. 557 of 1983.

COUNSEL

Douglas W. Reed, Berger, Reed and Green, for appellant, The Shadyside Action Coalition.

William R. Grove, with him, Leonard M. Mendelson, Hollinshead and Mendelson, for appellant, Walnut Street Associates.

Robert D. Monsour, for appellee, Joseph DeStefino.

Judges Barry and Colins, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.

Author: Narick

[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 438]

In separate appeals consolidated by this Court, the Shadyside Action Coalition (SAC) and Walnut Street Associates (WSA), referred to collectively as Appellants, seek reversal of orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which dismissed their appeals from an order entered by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (Board) of the City of Pittsburgh granting Joseph DeStefino's (Appellee's) application for a building permit.

On March 8, 1983, Appellee filed his original application for a permit to erect a second and third story addition

[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 439]

    over an existing one-story structure.*fn1 Citing the detrimental effect the proposed addition would have on abutting and adjacent properties, as well as on the community in general, and noting Appellee's failure to demonstrate the necessary hardship to be entitled to a parking variance, the Board denied the application in a decision dated May 5, 1983. It determined that 23 parking spaces were required for the proposed expansion, but that Appellee only could provide two. On May 16, 1983, Appellee again filed an application for the proposed expansion, except that this time six parking spaces were proposed.*fn2 Because the Board accepted Appellee's theory that the buildings he sought to expand were separate structures, thereby entitling each to a separate parking exemption, it determined that a parking variance was not necessary and granted the application on September 1, 1983. Appellants appealed to the common pleas court, which, without taking additional evidence, affirmed the Board's order and dismissed the appeal. This appeal followed.

Our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether the Board committed a manifest abuse of discretion or an error of law. Valley View Civic Association v. Zoning Board of Adjustment, 501 Pa. 550, 462 A.2d 637 (1983). We may conclude that the Board abused its discretion only if its findings are not supported by substantial evidence, i.e., such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Id.

[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 440]

Before we address the key issue of whether the Board's findings are supported by substantial evidence, some background information would be helpful. Appellee's property is located in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh, and is zoned A-1, Commercial-Residential. Appellee acquired the property, which consisted of several separate buildings, in 1974. At that time, he applied for and was granted permission to erect extensions to connect the buildings. According to the Board's decision, only one page of which appears in the record, Appellee proposed to raze an existing house situated between two of the buildings and erect an extension to connect them, and to build a rear extension to yet another building. The proposal here at issue, twice submitted, was to erect a second and third story atop this existing conglomerate of buildings, which, as the Board noted in its September 1, 1983 decision, Appellee tied together with a facade. The proposed expansion involved the construction of both additional retail space and a health club, which would be an ...


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