Citation:

Hunt v. Zoning Hearing Bd., 61 A.3d 380 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2013).

Summary:
Applicant for validity variance need not prove all elements of a variance, but must prove zoning ordinance is restrictive to the point of confiscation.
Case Details:

Appellants owned three parcels of land that did not abut a public road.  Appellants appealed the Zoning Officer’s determination that, under an amendment to the zoning ordinance, Appellant’s lots could not be used for residential purposes because they did not abut a public road, despite being the beneficiaries of a 50′ easement over property that did abut a public road.  Appellants filed a variance request in the alternative.  The Zoning Hearing Board agreed with the Zoning Officer’s determination and denied the variance.  The trial court affirmed.

In reversing the trial court, the Commonwealth Court stated that an applicant need not satisfy all of the variance requirements to establish a validity variance.  An applicant need only establish that the zoning ordinance is restrictive to the point of confiscation and that the validity variance is required to permit the applicant to reasonably use its land.  Here, the Zoning Ordinance prohibited all use of the Property because it did not abut a public road.  Consequently, the Zoning Ordinance was confiscatory in nature and Appellants were entitled to a validity variance.

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