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BOROUGH INGRAM v. ZONING HEARING BOARD BOROUGH INGRAM ET AL. (08/15/88)

decided: August 15, 1988.

BOROUGH OF INGRAM, APPELLANT
v.
ZONING HEARING BOARD OF THE BOROUGH OF INGRAM ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in the case of Borough of Ingram v. Zoning Hearing Board of the Borough of Ingram and Norman E. Popham and Lynne M. Popham, No. S.A. 232-1986.

COUNSEL

James C. Larrimer, Dougherty, Larrimer & Lee, Solicitor, for Borough of Ingram, appellant.

William P. Bresnahan, with him, Thomas R. Solomich, Rothman, Gordon, Foreman & Groudine, P.C., for appellees.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Smith, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.

Author: Barbieri

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 575]

The Borough of Ingram (Borough) appeals an order of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas affirming a decision by the Zoning Hearing Board of the Borough of Ingram (Board) granting front, rear, and side yard variances and authorizing a permit to Norman E. and Lynne Popham for the construction of a garage on their property.

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 576]

The Pophams reside at 339 Scotia Street in the Borough. They also own a 4800 square foot irregularly shaped lot next to their residential lot. The Pophams use this lot for gardening purposes and to park their two trucks. Both lots are located in an R-3 (High Density Residential) district.

The Pophams wish to construct a 24 foot by 24 foot garage on the vacant lot in which to house their two trucks. Mr. Popham testified before the Board that he needed the garage because one truck had been stolen and another vandalized within several months.

The Pophams propose to construct the garage at the farthest point from their residence in order to retain the maximum amount of open useable space in between. In order to do so, they sought front, rear, and side yard variances from the set-back requirements for dwellings in an R-3 district contained in the Borough's zoning ordinance.

An initial application for a building permit was denied by the Borough Manager on the basis that the proposed plan did not conform to the set-back requirements for dwellings. On appeal, the Board granted variances, permitting the front yard to be 6.87 feet, the rear yard 2 feet and the side yard 2 feet. The Board held that the Pophams had demonstrated an unnecessary hardship entitling them to a variance and the provisions of the zoning ordinance cited by the Borough pertained to dwellings rather than garages. The common pleas court affirmed the Board's decision.

On appeal to this Court, the Borough contends that the Pophams did not present evidence entitling them to the variances and that those variances requested were not the minimum which would afford relief. The Borough maintains that the Pophams have not shown an unnecessary hardship entitling them to the variances from the minimum yard requirements set forth in Sections 704.1(c) and 1703.2 of the zoning ordinance.

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 577]

Where, as here, the common pleas court has taken no additional evidence, our scope of review is limited to determining whether the Board abused its discretion or committed an error of law. Valley View Civic Association v. Zoning ...


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