Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County in the case of Kay Friedlander v. The Zoning Hearing Board of Sayre Borough, No. 86-699, dated October 1, 1987.
Alan J. Friedlander, Friedlander, Friedlander, Reizes & Joch, P.C., for appellant.
Gerard A. Zeller, with him, Jonathan P. Foster, Riffle & Foster, for appellee.
Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.
[ 119 Pa. Commw. Page 165]
Appellant Kay Friedlander appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County which affirmed the decision of the Sayre Township Zoning Hearing Board (Board) to grant two applications for a special use and one application for a variance filed by Robert Packer Hospital (the hospital).
In 1986, the hospital signed an option to purchase three parcels of property from Sayre Motel, Inc. Those
[ 119 Pa. Commw. Page 166]
properties are located at 301, 304 and 306 South Wilbur Avenue. The hospital planned to convert all of the properties into administrative offices. The first two are located in an area zoned R/M (high density residential) by the Sayre Township Zoning Ordinance (Ordinance). 306 South Wilbur Avenue is an area zoned R/S (single family residence). Hospitals are permitted within the R/M district as a special use. Section 5.106 and Schedule 1 of the ordinance. Section 6.501 of the ordinance permits variances only for uses permitted within the zoning district, and hospitals are not permitted in the R/S district. Following a hearing, the Board granted all of the requested relief. Appellant sought review from the Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County. That tribunal took no additional testimony and affirmed the Board's order. This appeal followed.
Where the trial court takes no additional testimony in a zoning appeal, our scope of review is limited to determining whether the Board committed an error of law or abused its discretion. Merion Park Civic Association v. Zoning Hearing Board of Lower Merion Township, 109 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 38, 530 A.2d 968 (1987). An abuse of discretion can be found only where findings of the Board are not supported by substantial evidence. Valley View Civic Association v. Zoning Board of Adjustment, 501 Pa. 550, 462 A.2d 637 (1983). Keeping in mind our scope of review, we will review appellant's allegations of error.
Appellant first argues that the hospital lacked standing to seek relief from the Board. Section 914 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), Act of July 31, 1968, as amended, P.L. 805, 53 P.S. § 10914, provides, "Requests for a variance . . . and request for a special exception . . . may be filed with the board by any landowner. . . ." In section 107(12) of the MPC, a "landowner" is defined, inter alia, as "the legal or beneficial
[ 119 Pa. Commw. Page 167]
owner . . . of land including the holder of an option . . . to purchase. . . ." 53 P.S. § 10107(12). Appellant argues that the option in this case lacks specificity regarding essential terms, thereby rendering it illusory and unenforceable. Like the trial court, we ...