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WARREN SEARLES v. ZONING HEARING BOARD CITY EASTON (08/10/88)

decided: August 10, 1988.

WARREN SEARLES, APPELLANT
v.
THE ZONING HEARING BOARD OF THE CITY OF EASTON, APPELLEE



Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County in the case of Warren Searles v. The Zoning Hearing Board of the City of Easton, No. 1986-C-9015 and 1987-C-1753.

COUNSEL

Gary G. Febbo, for appellant.

Roseann B. Joseph, for appellee.

Judges Craig and Colins, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 454]

Warren Searles, owner of two lots in Northampton County, appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County that affirmed a decision of the Zoning Hearing Board of the City of Easton and denied Mr. Searles' application for two variances from dimensional

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 455]

    requirements of the Easton City Zoning Code. We reverse.

In this appeal from the common pleas court's affirmance of the decision of the zoning hearing board, the issue is whether the board had a legally sound reason for denying the variances needed to allow the two single-family dwellings, a permitted use, on the two undersized lots.

In January 1985, Mr. Searles purchased two lots, one located on the west side of Ann Street and the other on the south side of Lachenour Avenue, both in Easton, Pennsylvania. The lots, purchased at a tax sale, are located in an area zoned Residential Low Density.

In September of 1986, Mr. Searles filed applications with the Zoning Administrator for the City of Easton to obtain permission to construct a single-family home on each of the lots. The zoning administrator denied both applications. On October 20, 1986, the board held hearings during which Mr. Searles sought lot width and parking variances for the Ann Street lot, and lot width, lot area, and parking variances for the Lachenour Avenue lot.

Section 1333.05 of the Easton City Zoning Code requires a minimum lot area of 6,400 square feet, a minimum lot width of 60 feet, and two off-street parking spaces.

The Ann Street lot is fifty feet wide; there Mr. Searles proposes a one-car garage, integral with the dwelling. The Lachenour Avenue property is forty-five feet wide and contains a lot area of 5,890 square feet. Mr. Searles also proposes a one-car integral garage for the dwelling proposed to be placed on this lot.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the board voted unanimously to deny the variances. In its decision, the board preceded each of its final determinations with a statement ...


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