Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in the case of Robert M. Harrington and Susan Harrington, his wife v. The Zoning Hearing Board of East Vincent Township, No. 86-05244.
David Andrew Schwartz, Reitnour, Mumma & Schwartz, for appellants.
Stuart N. Cohen, Butera, Beausang, Moyer & Cohen, for appellees.
Judges Doyle and Palladino, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 198]
This is an appeal by Robert M. Harrington and Susan Harrington (Appellants) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County affirming the decision of the Zoning Hearing Board of East Vincent Township (Board) which, inter alia, denied Appellants' application for a special exception or variance on the basis of the doctrine of res judicata.
Appellants own two acres of land that are the subject of this appeal. The property is zoned R-1, Rural
[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 199]
Conservation District, under the East Vincent Township Zoning Ordinance of 1984 (Ordinance). The property is improved with a single family detached home, a two story barn, a shed attached to the barn, and a corn crib. The shed is presently used as a hobby studio and home workshop, and the barn as a garage. The home is a two hundred year old farmhouse, and Appellants reside there with their two children.
Appellants first applied to the Board on January 6, 1986, requesting a special exception solely for a home occupation use of the shed that is attached to the barn, on the theory that the shed constituted a dwelling unit under Section 1307(a)(1) of the Ordinance.*fn1 This application was denied, and no appeal was taken.
On March 21, 1986, Appellants filed a second application with the Board. This new application requested: (1) an interpretation of Section 1307 of the Ordinance, as Appellants claimed that the Ordinance is, on its face, ambiguous; (2) a special exception for a home occupation use (an office) in the subject dwelling unit; (3) a special exception for a home occupation use in the shed (artist's studio and woodworking shop) as an existing accessory structure to the dwelling unit and; (4) a variance to allow the same use of the shed on the theory that the shed as an accessory structure of the house, should be included in the term "dwelling unit."
The Board, upon reviewing this second application, interpreted Section 1307 of the Ordinance to mean that home occupations must be conducted in dwelling units only and not in any accessory units, and further, that ...