Boyer v. Zoning Hearing Bd. of Franklin Twp., 987 A.2d 219 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2010).
Steep slope overlay regulations do not create the hardship that is necessary to justify a variance.
Applicants owned 42 acres of land located in a steep slope conservation overlay zone. Applicants were denied a permit to construct a single family residence on a plateau area of approximately 8.5 acres with steep slopes on all sides and subsequently requested a variance. The variance was denied and Applicants appealed.
The Commonwealth Court analyzed whether Applicants were entitled to a variance when their hardship arose, not from unique physical circumstances of the property, but from the restrictions of the steep slope conservation overlay zone. The Court determined Applicants were not entitled to a variance because, even if they had met all other variance criteria, Applicant’s hardship did not arise from unique physical circumstances of the property. Rather, it was the overlay zone that precluded them from building on the plateau
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