Are Landowners Who Violate Zoning Requirements Entitled to Variance ?

In Appletree Land Development v. Zoning Hearing Board of York Township, 834 A.2d 1214 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003), the Court held that a landowner whose porch, violated a setback requirement by one foot, in one corner, was not entitled to a variance because the hardship was of the landowner's own making. The Court explained that "there is a strong policy against assisting landowners who violate a zoning ordinance, whether negligently or intentionally, long apparent in this Court's jurisprudence." Id. at 1218. The burden of zoning compliance is upon the landowner; his failure to determine the zoning requirements applicable to the construction of a building on his property cannot be the basis for establishing an unnecessary hardship. Stated otherwise, the fact that Intervenors may be required to dismantle or reconstruct their existing garage is not a hardship because this is a situation of their own making.