Variances

S. Broad St. Neighborhood Ass’n v. Zoning Bd. Of Adjustment

An application for a use variance that alleges marketability concerns alone will not satisfy the unnecessary hardship threshold unless that hardship is due to unique physical conditions peculiar to the property.

Broad St. Neighborhood Ass’n v. Zoning Bd. Of Adjustment, 2019 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 430 (May 7, 2019)

Date of Decision: 5/7/19


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W.J. Menkins Holdings, LLC v. Douglass Twp

A zoning hearing board may impose conditions on the approval of a variance if the conditions bear a reasonable relation to the public interest and are reasonable under the facts of the case. However, the board may not impose conditions that are outside of its authority.

W.J. Menkins Holdings, LLC v. Douglass Twp., 2019 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 407 (May 2, 2019)

Date of Decision: 5/2/19


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DeAngelo v. N. Strabane Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd.

A variance constitutes a use variance when it contemplates more than a reasonable adjustment from area and space requirements in order to develop a permitted use. Variance applicants must be given a fair and full opportunity to present their request for a variance to the zoning hearing board

DeAngelo v. N. Strabane Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd., 2019 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 372, (Apr. 26, 2019)

Date of Decision: 4/17/19


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Fowler v. City of Bethlehem Zoning Hearing Board, Pa. Commw. (2018)

Where there is a change in theory regarding a zoning application, the doctrine of res judicata and collateral estoppel do not apply. Additionally, seeking to convert a conforming use to a nonconforming use is inconsistent with the burden to show that property cannot be used for a permitted purpose.

Fowler v. City of Bethlehem Zoning Hearing Bd., 2018 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 171 (May 22, 2018)

Date of Decision: 5/22/18


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Pequa Township v. Zoning Hearing Board, Pa. Commw. (2018)

A variance may be granted under the de minimis doctrine when (1) only a minor deviation from the zoning ordinance is sought and (2) rigid compliance with the ordinance is not necessary for the preservation of the public interests sought to be protected by the ordinance. Where the de minimis doctrine applies, “there is no need to resort to any other theory of relief.” In addition, a dimensional variance that would create a nonconformity is distinguished from dimensional variances that would bring a property into conformance with a zoning ordinance.

Pequa Twp. v. Zoning Hearing Bd., 2018 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 102

Date of Decision: 1/8/18


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In re Appeal of Chestnut Hill Cmty. Ass’n, Pa. Commw. (2017)

Variances may be granted where the applicant proves strict compliance with the ordinance would create a hardship due to the unique physical circumstances or conditions of the lot. The hardship cannot be one that arises from the impact of zoning regulations in the district.

In re Appeal of Chestnut Hill Cmty. Ass’n, 155 A.3d 658 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2017)

Date of Decision: 3/3/17


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Dunn v. Middletown Township Zoning Hearing Board, Pa. Commw. (2016)

If applicant’s subdivision plans would create the non-conformity that the applicant seeks to resolve by variance, the applicant should not be granted a variance. Also, de minimis variances may be granted if applicants show that (a) minor deviation from the dimensional uses of a zoning ordinance is sought and (b) rigid compliance with the zoning ordinance is not necessary to protect the public policy concerns inherent in the ordinance. In addition, there is no precise mathematical percentage that marks the dividing line between de minimis and significant deviation.

Dunn v. Middletown Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd., 143 A.3d 494 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016)

Date of Decision: 11/29/16


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Hafner v. Zoning Hearing Board of Allen Township, Pa. Commw., (2009)

In order to establish a valid, nonconforming use, the landowner has the burden of demonstrating legal use of the property for the activity in question prior to enactment of the zoning in question; to demonstrate right to variance by estoppel, landowner must produce evidence that without such variance, the property would be rendered valueless.

Hafner v. Zoning Hearing Board of Allen Township, 974 A.2d 1204 (Pa. Commw. 2009).

Date of Decision: 5/21/09


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