Friday, 16 July 2021 18:58

Hatboro, PA, Auto Body Shop Loses Commonwealth Court Appeal Over Zoning

Written by Jon Campisi, Patch


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A state appellate court panel affirmed a Montgomery County Court judge's ruling upholding a Hatboro, PA, Zoning Hearing Board decision that denied a variance sought by an auto body shop to operate on a local property.

A three-judge Commonwealth Court panel found no error in a trial court's decision to uphold a February 2019 decision by the zoning hearing board in Hatboro, which denied an application by RAV Collision Services seeking to run its business on a property owned by local businessman Joseph Doyle.


A state court judge in Montgomery County, which took up the appeal, subsequently upheld the zoning hearing board's decision to deny RAV's request to operate its auto body shop as a continuation of a nonconforming use on Doyle's property.


Doyle, who had purchased his borough property in the early 1980s, operated Joseph J. Doyle Machine Tool Sales, Inc., a heavy equipment business, on his property since that time, and had been grandfathered to use the property that way even though zoning had changed over the years to the point where the business was no longer an approved use at that location.


A timeline of events provided by the court show RAV began leasing land across from Doyle's property in 2014, but eventually desired additional space because of business expansion, and wanted to secure a lease on Doyle's land to use his property for the auto business.


The auto repair shop was not a permitted use on Doyle's property so RAV sought a determination from the local zoning hearing board that its business was...

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