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TRUITT v. BOROUGH AMBRIDGE WATER AUTHORITY. (06/28/57)

June 28, 1957

TRUITT, APPELLANT,
v.
BOROUGH OF AMBRIDGE WATER AUTHORITY.



Appeal, No. 76, March T., 1957, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County, Dec. T., 1955, No. 3, in equity, in case of R. D. Truitt et al. v. Borough of Ambridge Water Authority. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Robert L. Orr, with him Reed, Ewing, Orr & Reed, for appellants.

Eugene A. Caputo, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno, Arnold, Jones and Cohen, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 389 Pa. Page 430]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES

This appeal presents an inquiry into the necessity for taking the quantum of land which a Water Authority condemned for reservoir purposes.

Appellants, the owners of a 189 acre tract of land in Beaver County, over a period of several years had been engaged in negotiations with appellee (hereinafter called the Authority) concerning the sale of a portion of their tract of land to the Authority. During these negotiations the Authority sought to purchase 140 acres of appellants' tract. When negotiations for the purchase of these 140 acres failed to accomplish their

[ 389 Pa. Page 431]

    purpose the Authority instituted eminent domain proceedings to acquire the entire tract.

Appellants then filed a complaint in equity for the purpose of restraining the Authority from acquiring the entire tract. The basis of appellants' complaint was that the extent of land sought to be acquired was far in excess of the Authority's requirements for the construction and maintenance of a water reservoir and that the proposed taking by the Authority constituted an abuse of its discretion and was arbitrary and capricious in nature. The Authority filed an answer averring that the entire tract was necessary for the proper construction, maintenance and operation of an impounding reservoir and denying that its action constituted an abuse of discretion or was arbitrary or capricious. After a hearing, the court below dismissed appellants' equity action. Exceptions filed thereto were later dismissed and this appeal ensued.

The power and right of the Authority to condemn land for appropriate purposes of operation of the Authority is not only well established but admitted in this proceeding. Such power and right finds its source in the Municipal Authorities Act of May 2, 1945, P.L. 382, § 11, as amended, (53 PS § 2900z-12) which provides: "The Authority shall have the power to acquire, by purchase or eminent domain proceedings, either the fee or such right, title, interest or easement in such lands, water and water rights as the Authority may deem necessary for any of the purposes mentioned in this act: ...".*fn1 The purpose of the instant ...


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