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EAST TORRESDALE CIVIC ASSOCIATION v. PHILADELPHIA ZONING BOARD ADJUSTMENT (10/13/88)

decided: October 13, 1988.

EAST TORRESDALE CIVIC ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT
v.
PHILADELPHIA ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of East Torresdale Civic Association v. Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment, No. 4848 August Term, 1986.

COUNSEL

Richelle D. Hittinger, for appellant.

Sherri B. Glantz, for appellee.

Idee C. Fox, for intervenor, Eric Shantzer.

Judges Barry and McGinley, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry. This decision was reached prior to the resignation of Judge MacPhail.

Author: Barry

[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 394]

The East Torresdale Civic Association appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which affirmed a decision of the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment (Board) to grant a variance to Dr. Eric R. Shantzer (Shantzer).

Shantzer, a dentist, had been practicing his profession at another location. Due to an increase in his practice, he found it necessary to open a second office. He purchased a building at 9837 Frankford Avenue which

[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 395]

    had been operating as a dentist office. He applied for a use permit with the City's Department of License and Inspection. The permit was refused on the grounds that Shantzer did not reside on the premises.*fn1 At a hearing before the Board, Shantzer's counsel stated for the record that the premises were originally constructed as a duplex building, containing one apartment on the first floor, one apartment on the second floor and two garages in the rear of the building. Counsel also established that the first floor apartment had been converted into a dentist's office before Shantzer purchased the building. This conversion was done without a building permit nor had a variance been granted. It was also established that Shantzer would maintain the outside of the premises to conform with the other dwellings in the neighborhood and that his business required two employees. The East Torresdale Civic Association (Association) presented testimony that the premises were part of a residential development, that the prior use was illegal and that the Board had denied two other requests for a variance to establish dental offices in the neighborhood. On August 20, 1986, the Board granted a variance to Shantzer to operate a dentist office at the premises. The

[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 396]

Board made the following factual findings in support of its decision:

1. . . . the premises was once occupied as a non-legalize [sic] dental office, but is zoned as a two family dwelling. Photographs indicating the prior use were ...


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