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PITTSBURGH v. MCNEIL. (05/28/59)

May 28, 1959

PITTSBURGH, APPELLANT,
v.
MCNEIL.



Appeal, No. 123, March T., 1959, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1958, No. 2023, in case of City of Pittsburgh v. Wilbert J. McNeil et al. Decree affirmed. Equity. Before SOFFEL, J. Adjudication filed dismissing complaint, exceptions to adjudication dismissed and final decree entered. City of Pittsburgh appealed.

COUNSEL

Regis C. Nairn, Assistant City Solicitor, with him David Stahl, City Solicitor, for City of Pittsburgh, appellant.

John B. Nicklas, Jr., with him Linn V. Phillips, Jr., and McCrady & Nicklas, for appellees.

Before Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Mcbride, JJ.

[ 396 Pa. Page 74]

OPINION PER CURIAM

The adjudication filed in this case on July 8, 1958, by Judge SOFFEL of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County states, inter alia:

"The plaintiff, City of Pittsburgh, complains of defendants' failure to have approved and recorded a plan or plat of subdivision of certain property owned by the defendants in the 20th Ward of the City of Pittsburgh prior to selling and transferring five lots out of the whole parcel, and asks the Court to enjoin the sale or transfer by the defendants of the one lot or parcel of ground remaining in possession of the defendants.

"In 1927, the Legislature established a Planning Commission for the City of Pittsburgh by the Act of 1927, May 13, P.L. 1011, as amended by the Act of June 12, 1931, 53 P.S. § 22762 et seq. In 1947, the said Planning Commission, pursuant to the authority of the aforesaid Act, made and adopted a master plan for the City of Pittsburgh in which one of the main arteries or radials for traffic to and from the City of Pittsburgh passes through the said property, now or formerly owned by the defendants. Plaintiff avers that the defendants, during the years in question, owned a 12.25 acre parcel of ground situated entirely within the confines of the 20th Ward of the City of Pittsburgh. Although fully cognizant of the existence and requirements of the City Planning Commission and its master plan, and of the existence of the statute and its requirements, and after numerous conferences with the

[ 396 Pa. Page 75]

City Planning Commission regarding the approval of the subdivision planned by the defendants, the said defendants, during the years 1953, 1954 and 1955 sold four lots out of the said 12.25 acre tract to four separate purchasers and transferred one other lot, apparently without consideration, to another grantee. In so doing the defendants acted in violation of the said Act of 1927, supra. The defendants have never secured approval of the City Planning Commission for the plan of subdivision which they have implemented, nor have they submitted a final tracing of their plan of subdivision in accord with the requirements of the statute.

"This case involves, inter alia, the constitutionality of the Act of May 13, 1927, P.L. 1011, as amended, 53 P.S. § 22762 et seq., creating an executive department in cities of the second class to be known as the Department of City Planning and a City Planning Commission, and conferring upon them certain powers and duties. It is our opinion that this act is constitutional.

"In the instant case, the defendants were required by said act to secure approval prior to the sale of any lots from a subdivision by the City Planning Commission of the plat of land owned by them in the 20th Ward of the City of Pittsburgh and to record it in the Recorder's Office of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. During the years 1953, 1954 and 1955, the defendants transferred and sold certain lots or parcels of ground out of their twelve acre tract without having first secured the approval of the Planning Commission and without recording said plat. The transfer of any lot or parcel of ground in a subdivision as defined by the Statute without a plat of the ...


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