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Rudolph v. Zoning Hearing Board of Cambria Township

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
839 A.2d 475 (2003)


Facts

A zoning ordinance in Cambria Township permitted home occupations on residential property if: (1) the occupation was conducted inside of structures on the property; (2) the occupation was conducted by a family member of the person living in the residential structure, with no more than one non-family-member employee; (3) the occupation did not produce objectionable noise, vibration, smoke, or smells; and (4) the individual obtained a proper zoning certificate. Todd Niebauer applied for a permit to build a pole building on Beverly Niebauer’s residential lot. The application stated under residential uses: “Pole Bldg—Landscaping Business.” The Zoning Hearing Board of Cambria Township (plaintiff), believing that the pole building would be used to store vehicles, granted the permit application. The next year, Beverly subdivided her lot, leaving one lot with the pole building as its only structure. Beverly conveyed this lot to her sons, Todd and Matt. Matt (defendant) used the lot for his landscaping business, including storing equipment and supplies such as bricks, pavers, plants, and manure, outside of the pole building. Over time, Matt hired five employees to work for him. Matt frequently received deliveries to the property from tractor-trailers. Richard and Margaret Rudolph lived next to the Niebauers’ lot. The Rudolphs complained of significant noise and malodorous smells coming from the Niebauer lot. The township issued an enforcement notice against Matt. Matt challenged the notice. The court of common pleas found that the application authorized operation of the landscaping business on the property. The Rudolphs appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Cohn, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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