Nettleton et al. v. ZHB of Adjustment of Pittsburgh et al., 828 A.2d 1033 (Pa. Supreme Ct.. 2003), 7/22/03:

Case Details:

The Supreme Court clarified its decision Yocum Zoning Case, 141 A.2d 601 (Pa. 1958) and reversed the decision of the Commonwealth Court. In Yocum, the Court held that where a nonconformity concerns only the encroachment of a building footprint in an area prohibited by later-enacted regulation, then a vertical addition to the building that does not extend or increase the existing nonconformity is a permitted use.

The Court specifically rejected the Commonwealth Court’s limitation of the applicability of Yocum to regulatory violations eligible for relief under the de minimis exception. Within the context of land use law, a landowner can obtain an exception to a zoning ordinance when there is only a minor or de minimisdeviation from a zoning ordinance and rigid compliance is not necessary to protect the public policy concerns inherent in the ordinance. The Court also distinguished other cases as involving either a variance application or a municipal ordinance that contained a provision specifically applying yard regulations to subsequently erected stories upon existing structures. In both Yocum and the instant case, the proposed uses of the building were lawful.

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