Is An Ordinance Which Effects Exclusion of Mobile Home Parks Valid ?

In Stahl v. Upper Southampton Township Zoning Hearing Board, 146 Pa. Commw. 659, 606 A.2d 960 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1992), the township's zoning ordinance permitted mobile home parks only in R-4 (Residential) Districts and required that each lot in a mobile home park have a minimum size of 9,000 square feet, a minimum width of 75 feet, a minimum front yard of 30 feet and a minimum rear yard of 35 feet. The ordinance further imposed the maximum density requirement applicable to single-family detached dwellings, which was three units per acre. Landowners sought to develop a mobile home park on a tract of land they owned in an R-2 District. They challenged the substantive validity of the ordinance, asserting that it effected a de facto exclusion of mobile home parks, and proposed a curative amendment. Landowners were unsuccessful before the zoning hearing board and the trial court. On appeal to this Court, landowners raised two issues: (1) whether the township's ordinance effected a de facto and unconstitutional exclusion of mobile home parks and; (2) whether the zoning hearing board erred in concluding that the dimensional aspects of the mobile home park ordinance made the development of mobile home parks infeasible and therefore rendered the ordinance de facto exclusionary. Stahl, 606 A.2d at 962. The Court, following the Surrick test for determining whether zoning is exclusionary, rejected landowners' first issue (Surrick v. Zoning Hearing Board of the Township of Upper Providence,476 Pa. 182, 188, 382 A.2d 105, 108 (1977) (acknowledging that "exclusionary or unduly restrictive zoning techniques do not have the requisite substantial relationship to the public welfare"). The Court held that landowners failed to meet their burden with regard to their challenge that the township failed to provide its "fair share" of land for mobile home parks.