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Anter Associates v. Zoning Hearing Board of Concord

March 23, 2011

ANTER ASSOCIATES, APPELLANT
v.
ZONING HEARING BOARD OF CONCORD : TOWNSHIP :



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rochelle S. Friedman, Senior Judge

Argued: February 7, 2011

BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, Judge HONORABLE JOHNNY J. BUTLER, Judge HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge

OPINION BY SENIOR JUDGE FRIEDMAN

Anter Associates (Anter) appeals from the December 9, 2009, order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County (trial court), which affirmed the decision of the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) of Concord Township (Township) denying Anter's application for a special exception to erect a billboard. We affirm.

Anter applied for a special exception to erect a billboard on a 2.25-acre tract of unimproved land in the C-2 Planned Business and Commercial Zoning District. The property is bounded on the west and north by residential properties, on the east by the Historic Newlin Grist Mill and on the south by Baltimore Pike. The proposed billboard would have a 300-square-foot sign face attached to a monopole. It would be twenty-two feet high, as measured from the existing grade, twenty feet from the Baltimore Pike right-of-way and twelve feet from the residential property to the west. A historic home is located twenty-five feet further to the west.

After a hearing, the ZHB denied the application, concluding that Anter's application failed to comply with the following sections of the Zoning Ordinance: (1) section 210-242.D(3) (setting forth eight criteria for deciding whether the special exception would be contrary to standards of law); (2) section 210-183.10 (requiring a historic resource study); (3) section 210-129 (requiring a fifty-foot planted screen buffer); and (4) section 210-210.L(8) (requiring an engineer's certification that the billboard meets building code construction standards). (ZHB's Conclusions of Law,

Nos. 2, 4, 5; ZHB's Op. at 17-18.) Anter filed an appeal with the trial court, which affirmed. Anter now appeals to this court.*fn1

I. Section 210-242.D(3)

Anter first argues that the ZHB erred in requiring Anter to comply with the special exception requirements in section 210-242.D(3). We agree.

Section 210-242.D(2) of the Zoning Ordinance states that an applicant for a special exception has the burden of establishing that allowance of the special exception will not be contrary to the standards of law. (Zoning Ordinance, §210- 242.D(2), R.R. at 100.) Section 210-242.D(3) then states:

In determining whether the allowance of a special exception . is contrary to the standards of law, the [ZHB] shall consider whether the application, if granted, will:

(a) Substantially increase traffic congestion in the streets.

(b) Increase the danger of fire or panic or otherwise endanger ...


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