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WILEY v. WOODS (05/26/58)

May 26, 1958

WILEY
v.
WOODS, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 59, March T., 1958, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1958, No. 207, in case of Lillian R. Wiley v. C. Ronald Woods et al. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

David Stahl, Assistant City Solicitor, with him J. Frank McKenna, Jr., for appellants.

Ralph H. Smith, Jr., with him Smith, Smith & Zehner, for appellee.

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

Author: Jones

[ 393 Pa. Page 343]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES

Lillian R. Wiley, appellee, petitioned the Planning Commission of the City of Pittsburgh to recommend to the City Council or Pittsburgh that a certain portion of Wallingford Street, located in the Seventh Ward of Pittsburgh, be rezoned from a "C" Residence District to a "B" Residence District.*fn1

On August 6, 1957, the Planning Commission denied appellee's petition because her rezoning request was inconsistent with a proposed zoning of Wallingford Street under a new and comprehensive zoning ordinance then pending before City Council. Subsequent to the Commission's denial of appellee's petition, an

[ 393 Pa. Page 344]

    inquiry concerning the matter was made by a member of City Council.Pursuant to this inquiry a survey of the properties in that portion of Wallingford Street in which appellee was interested was made by a staff member of the Department of City Planning, field investigation notes were prepared and a report made on September 27, 1957 to that member of City Council who had made the inquiry.*fn2

Appellee sought to examine and inspect all data in the Department of City Planning pertaining to the petition for rezoning. The only data in that office consisted of (a) the report made to the member of City Council, (b) the record of the Commission's denial of the rezoning petition and (c) field investigation notes. The latter consisted of pages from an atlas upon which notations were made representing the properties investigated on Wallingford Street, indicating what the investigator learned from conversations with occupants thereof and from observations with respect to the use of each property. The report to the City Councilman contains a complete summary of the field investigation study; the only information contained in the field investigation notes omitted in the report is the identification of the investigator's notations with each particular structure in the area surveyed. Appellee was permitted to examine and inspect the report made to the member of City Council and the record of the Commission's denial of the rezoning petition but not the field investigation notes.

Appellee then instituted a mandamus action against C. Ronald Woods, Planning Director, the Department of City Planning of the City of Pittsburgh and the ...


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