Appletree Land Development v. ZHB of York Township, (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003), 834 A.2d 1214
The Commonwealth Court restated the public policy against assisting landowners who violate a zoning ordinance, whether negligently or intentionally. In this case, the court refused to grant Appletree Land Development a variance to allow a 1.19-foot variance to a dimensional zoning requirement. Appletree argued that the variance would fall under the de minimis variance doctrine. The court explained that the doctrine applies only where a minor deviation is sought, and rigid compliance with the zoning ordinance is not necessary to protect public policy. The court further explained that the de minimis variance doctrine is an exceptional remedy, and Appletree’s failure to determine the zoning requirements applicable to their model home would not support such a variance. The court concluded by stating, “the burden of zoning compliance is upon the landowner, and [Appletree’s] difficulties were self-inflicted.”
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