Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in the case of Verland C.L.A., Inc. v. Zoning Hearing Board of Moon Township, No. S.A. 2594 of 1987.
Richard J. Klixbull, Brennan, Robins & Daley, for appellant.
Charles M. Means, Markel, Schafer & Means, P.C., for appellee.
Judges Colins and McGinley, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.
[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 151]
Verland C.L.A., Inc. (Verland) appeals an order of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas dismissing its appeal of a decision of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Moon (Board) denying its request for a variance from the spacing requirement for a group residence facility and its validity challenging to this provision of the local zoning ordinance.
Verland is a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation which operates eight family community living arrangements (C.L.A.s) in Allegheny County under contract with the County Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Drug and Alcohol Program.*fn1
[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 152]
In March of 1986, Verland purchased a residence at 217 Winridge Drive in the Township for use as a C.L.A. The proposed C.L.A. would serve as a home for three mentally retarded residents and would be staffed by individuals who assist the residents in their daily activities.
The property is zoned R-1 Residential and in March of 1987, Verland moved its residents into the home, assuming the C.L.A. would qualify as a single-family residence. Shortly thereafter, the Township advised Verland that it was in violation of Section 600.5(d)*fn2 of the Ordinance. Although Section 600.5 of the Ordinance conditionally allows group residence facilities in all residential zoning districts and commercial districts which are contiguous thereto, subsection (d) requires that such a facility may not be located less than one mile from any other. The distance is to be measured by drawing a circle with a one mile radius around the proposed facility. Measured this way, the property in question is within 1800 feet of another group residence.
The Township sought to enjoin Verland's use of the premises as a C.L.A. However, by way of a consent order dated March 20, 1987, the hearing on the summary injunction was continued and the residents temporarily allowed to remain in the home on the condition that Verland seek a variance. The Board denied Verland a variance from the spacing requirement and the trial court dismissed Verland's appeal. This appeal followed.
[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 153]
Section 501.5 of the zoning ordinance (Ordinance) defines "single-family dwelling" as:
A separate, detached building designed for or occupied exclusively as a ...