Variance to Use Property As An Open Air Parking Lot

In Allegheny West Civic Council, Inc. v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of the City of Pittsburgh, 547 Pa. 163, 689 A.2d 225 (1997), the owner secured a variance to use its property as an open air parking lot in an area used for residential, commercial and institutional purposes. The site was contaminated in a way that would require as much as $ 3 million to remediate plus annual monitoring costs before it could be used for residential building. The Supreme Court reversed this Court's reversal of grants of variances. The court noted that showing that a property is valueless without a variance is one way to establish unnecessary hardship, although the court expressly rejected requiring such a showing, and it held that there was substantial evidence that the owner could not use the property for a permitted purpose nor conform it without prohibitive cost.