Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Northampton County, Honorable Alfred T. Williams, Jr., Judge.
Raymond J. DeRaymond, Easton, for appellants.
Theodore R. Lewis, Coffin, Lewis and Walters, Easton, for appellee, Borough of Nazareth.
Barry and Palladino, (p.), JJ., and Barbieri, Senior Judge.
[ 127 Pa. Commw. Page 280]
Gregory R. Chrin and Caryn M. Chrin (landowners) appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County dismissing their appeal from a decision of the Zoning Hearing Board of the Borough of Nazareth (the Board).
Landowners own an irregularly-shaped lot located in the Borough of Nazareth (Borough). It is zoned R-7 (Medium Density Residential). Situated on the property is a three-unit multi-family dwelling*fn1, a lawn shed, a playhouse and a
[ 127 Pa. Commw. Page 281]
detached private garage which is the subject of this appeal.*fn2
The landowners applied for a zoning permit in order to construct a two-story dwelling unit on top of the garage for their own use.*fn3 The zoning officer denied that application. Landowners appealed that decision to the Board. Following a hearing on the matter, the Board concluded that landowners needed variances from the zoning ordinance's prohibition against rear dwellings and from certain of its dimensional requirements and that they had failed to establish the required unnecessary hardship. Landowners next appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County which, without taking additional testimony, affirmed the Board. This appeal then followed.
When a trial court takes no additional evidence, this Court's scope of review is limited to determining whether the Board has committed a manifest abuse of discretion or error of law. Valley View Civic Association v. Zoning Board of Adjustment, 501 Pa. 550, 462 A.2d 637 (1983). An abuse of discretion can be found only if the Board's findings are not supported by substantial evidence. Id.
Landowners first argue that the Board should have permitted the construction of the proposed dwelling unit because it constitutes expansion of the multi-family dwelling use, which, according to them, is legally nonconforming in an R-7 District. Section 55.1 of the zoning ordinance, however, provides that a multi-family dwelling is a permitted use in an R-7 District. Therefore, owners of such uses do not have a constitutionally protected right of natural
[ 127 Pa. Commw. Page 282]
expansion. Immordino v. Zoning Hearing Board of Morrisville Borough, 65 Pa. Commonwealth ...