Burger, though, did not want to give up farming and continued to operate a sod farm on about 150 acres belonging to James Morrissey of Huntingdon Valley.
Burger needed a place to keep his machinery, so in the fall of 1988 he
applied for a permit to build a pole barn in which to store his equipment.
But zoning officer Joanne Malba told him that when he sold off most of his acreage he lost his legal right to store the equipment, including a combine and two tractor-trailers.
He would need a minimum of five acres under zoning regulations to be permitted to keep the equipment. The land he rents doesn't count, the township has said.
Burger appealed Malba's decision to the Zoning Hearing Board, and the board rejected Burger's appeal in December 1988, after which Burger appealed the matter to the county court. In March 1990, Malba said, she issued a violation notice to Burger, ordering him to move his equipment, which remains on the small parcel of land he still owns.
"Since then, the zoning code enforcement department has filed a citation with District Justice Donald Nasshorn because Burger ignored the cease-and- desist," Malba said. According to Township Manager Bruce Townsend, Nasshorn has refused to take action until a decision is reached in the county court.
The issue is muddied, according to homeowner Steven Pein, because when the development was transferred from U.S. Home Corp. to another developer, Toll Brothers, the new owners deeded about 0.6 acres back to Burger for his
Toll Brothers executives could not be reached for comment.
Peter Burger, son of Robert Burger, said in an interview that the family kept a combine, a few tractor-trailers and other equipment there that was too large to be stored in a smaller barn.
Burger said he and his family wished to remain at peace with his neighbors, and that it was upsetting that he had never met any of them before he was issued a violation notice.