Relaxed Dimensional Variance Standard

The Supreme Court, in Hertzberg v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of City of Pittsburgh 554 Pa. 249, 264, 721 A.2d 43, 50 (1998), relaxed the review of dimensional variance applications when it held that courts may consider multiple factors, including: The economic detriment to the applicant if the variance was denied, the financial hardship created by any work necessary to bring the building into strict compliance with the zoning requirements and the characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood. In Daley v. Zoning Hearing Board of Upper Moreland Township, 770 A.2d 815 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2001), a church sought to expand its parking, but needed a variance to allow a buffer zone of 5 feet instead of 50 feet as required by the ordinance. This Court, applying the relaxed dimensional variance standard articulated in Hertzberg, held that the zoning hearing board had correctly granted the variance because the church established that its current insufficient parking prevented the reasonable use of its property and created an unnecessary hardship. In particular, the Court reasoned that the church did not create the parking problem because, since its construction in 1918, the surrounding neighborhood had changed, which caused the parking problem and created the unnecessary hardship. Daley, 770 A.2d at 820.