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DENNY BUILDING CORPORATION APPEAL. (12/29/56)

December 29, 1956

DENNY BUILDING CORPORATION APPEAL.


Appeal, No. 274, Jan. T., 1956, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 2 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1955, No. 7968, in re Appeal from Decision of Board of License and Inspection Review. Order affirmed; reargument refused January 15, 1957. Appeal from decision of Board of License and Inspection Review directing issuance of final plumbing certificates. Order entered reversing board, opinion by CARROLL, J. Applicant and City appealed.

COUNSEL

Marcus Manoff, with him Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish & Green, for appellant.

Levy Anderson, First Deputy City Solicitor, with him David E. Pinsky, Assistant City Solicitor and, David Berger, City Solicitor, for City of Philadelphia, intervening appellant.

Daniel Sherman, with him Walter W. Rabin, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Stern

[ 387 Pa. Page 313]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE HORACE STERN

This controversy concerns the duty of a corporation, building a number of dwelling houses in Philadelphia, to equip them with leaders (gutters and downspouts) for conducting water from the roofs, in accordance with applicable provisions of law, and the question whether the Board of License and Inspection Review can relieve it from the performance of that duty.

The Denny Building Corporation entered upon a building operation involving the erection of some 450 detached dwelling houses on a 102-acre tract of land east of the Roosevelt Boulevard between Woodhaven and Comley Roads, each of the lots containing approximately 6,000 square feet, and each house occupying approximately 14% of its lot. All of them were built without basements or cellars, a concrete slab, four inches thick, forming the lowermost floor. The roofs pitch in two directions, each portion having an overhang

[ 387 Pa. Page 314]

    of approximately 2 1/2 feet, but they are not provided with metallic rain conductors along the eaves nor are there any downspouts to conduct the rain water from the roofs to the ground and into the sewer.

During the course of construction Denny made application to the Department of Licenses and Inspections for final plumbing certificates covering the houses the erection of which had been completed, but the Department ruled that it would not grant such certificates unless gutters, downspouts and underground pipes to the street were provided. Denny then appealed to the Board of License and Inspection Review, which is a departmental board in the Department of Licenses and Inspections (Philadelphia Home Rule Charter 3-100[f]). The Board, after a hearing and a re-hearing, reversed the decision of the Department and directed it to grant the relief requested. At the rehearing some of the owners and occupants of the houses had appeared and testified to the adverse effects of the failure to channel the drainage of the rain water from the roofs, and, upon an appeal being taken to the court below by the Brotherhood of Master Plumbers of Philadelphia, they and other owners and residents were granted permission by the court to intervene in the action; Denny also was allowed to intervene. The court, in a comprehensive opinion by Judge CARROLL, reversed the decision of the Board and Denny thereupon took the present appeal to this court. A petition of the City of Philadelphia to intervene as an appellant has been granted.

The Act of June 7, 1911, P.L. 680, prescribes certain requirements for the construction of plumbing and house drainage in cities of the first class. Section 20 of the Act provides that "All buildings shall be ...


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