Posted by: Patricia Salkin | June 18, 2014

PA Appeals Court Upholds Zoning Board’s Interpretation of Ordinance Holding No Variance Needed for Parking Lot

Griffin Family Limited Partnership (landowner) owned and operated a wholesale building supply store that had a parking lot, and Landowner entered into an agreement with All Stop Parking, which allowed All Stop Parking to use the supply store’s parking lot when the building supply store was closed. Landowner then filed an occupancy permit application with the zoning administrator, but the zoning administrator denied the application because commercial event parking is not permitted in an overlay district. Landowner was advised by the zoning administrator to seek a variance, which they did by stating that the parking at stadium events created overcrowding, and that the city would create revenues and prevent congestion by granting the variance. The Objector to the variance asserted that the purpose of the overlay district was to prevent stadium parking in residential communities, and that the stadium customers should use the parking garages that were built by taxpayers. The zoning board held that the applicable local law was not intended to address or in any way proscribe stadium event parking in existing parking lots located in the Overlay District and that Landowners did not need a variance to operate commercial event parking on their existing and actively used parking lot, which is accessory to the business use. Objectors Appealed to the trial court and the trial court affirmed.

The appeals court upheld the zoning board’s authority to interpret the zoning ordinance and upheld its conclusion that no variance was necessary by reading together the applicable sections of the local ordinance and state law as the landowner was not “installing” a new parking lot, but rather using an existing parking lot for that purpose.

The Allegheny West Civic Council, Inc. v Zoning Board of Adjustment of City of Pittsburgh, 2014 WL 2756551 (PA Cmmwlth 6/18/2014)

The opinion can be accessed at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/pa-commonwealth-court/1670189.html


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