Leckey v. Lower Southampton Twp ZHB
864 A.2d 593 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004)
On a ten-acre parcel zoned R-1, Landowner sought a special exception to conduct a nursery with an accessory landscape business. The Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) granted the exception with conditions that required Landowner 1) to establish a tree buffer along one boundary line, 2) not to erect additional structures on the property, 3) to limit the hours of operation of the business from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., 4) not to increase the number of vehicles used or stored on the property, 5) not to hire additional employees, and 6) to comply with the municipality’s existing noise ordinance.
Stating that the Municipalities Planning Code, Section 912.1, “specifically authorizes” a ZHB to attach “reasonable conditions and safeguards” to a special exception permit, the Commonwealth Court upheld all of the ZHB’s conditions as reasonable. In reaching its decision, the Court overturned the decision by the lower court, which had struck all conditions but the tree buffer condition. The Court opined that conditions attached by a ZHB to special exception approvals will be struck only if the conditions are unreasonable and a manifest abuse of discretion.
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