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BOROUGH TRAPPE v. BRUCE LONGAKER (09/30/88)

decided: September 30, 1988.

THE BOROUGH OF TRAPPE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA, APPELLANT
v.
BRUCE LONGAKER, APPELLEE. BRUCE LONGAKER, APPELLANT V. THE BOROUGH OF TRAPPE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA, APPELLEE



Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, in the case of The Borough of Trappe, Montgomery Co., Pa. v. Bruce Longaker, No. 85-15848.

COUNSEL

Lawrence Sager, for appellant, Borough of Trappe.

Barry W. Kerchner, for appellee Bruce Longaker.

Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.

Author: Narick

[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 181]

The Borough of Trappe (Borough) appeals from a decision and order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County. For the reasons set forth herein, we must reverse the decision of the trial court.

This case evolves from a sea of litigation commencing in 1977 when Bruce Longaker (Longaker), as the owner of property situated at 132 West 7th Avenue in the Borough, filed a curative amendment which would allow him to use his property as a junkyard. In response to Longaker's petition, the Borough on April 13, 1977 enacted Ordinance No. 183-D which deleted the Borough's prohibition against junkyards and permitted the use of property as a junkyard in an LI-Limited Industrial District. On May 2, 1977, the Borough enacted the Borough of Trappe Junkyard Ordinance, Ordinance No. 202, which regulated the establishment and maintenance of junkyards and scrap yards in the Borough.*fn1 On January 11, 1979, the trial court rendered an opinion regarding Longaker's petition for curative amendment which required the Borough to issue Longaker a use permit for a junkyard when and if Longaker was in full compliance with all other valid ordinances and regulations.

[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 182]

Subsequently, the Borough initiated litigation against Longaker alleging that he was in violation of Borough ordinances and regulations. On January 17, 1980, the court of common pleas issued a decision and order which provided, inter alia, that Longaker: (1) install a fence around the junkyard;*fn2 (2) provide rear and side yard setback requirements of 20 and 10 feet respectively; (3) plant appropriate shrubbery around the fence; (4) abide by the standards set forth in Sections 1001-1007 of Ordinance No. 183; and (5) provide a 20-foot wide access road through the premises so as to permit passageway by fire and emergency equipment. The order further provided that it was the court's intent to enforce the earlier order issued by the trial court in 1979.*fn3

On February 2, 1982, the Borough adopted Ordinance No. 223 which regulated the use of property as a junkyard.*fn4 On June 9, 1983, Longaker purchased property situated at 150 West 7th Avenue, which is adjacent to his 132 West 7th Avenue property and located in an LI District. Longaker intended to expand his junkyard business onto his newly acquired property and in 1985 applied to the Borough for a permit to construct a fence around his property. Subsequently, Longaker was advised by the Borough that before he could expand his business he must submit plans to the Borough as required

[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 183]

    by Ordinance No. 223. The Borough denied Longaker's request for a fence permit. Although no appeal was taken from the Borough's decision, Longaker continued the construction of a fence around his 150 West 7th Avenue property.*fn5

On October 11, 1985, the Borough filed a complaint in equity alleging that: (1) Longaker is in violation of Borough ordinances; (2) Longaker's junkyard business does not comply with setback and side yard requirements; and (3) Longaker has failed to obtain the necessary licenses in order to operate his junkyard. The Borough contended that Longaker should be enjoined from operating his business or in the alternative that ...


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