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SNYDER v. PLANKENHORN. (03/22/60)

March 22, 1960

SNYDER, APPELLANT,
v.
PLANKENHORN.



Appeal, No. 91, Jan. T., 1960, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, Sept. T., 1956, No. 4, in equity, in case of Sarah K. Snyder v. Louise M. Plankenhorn, widow, et al. Decree affirmed. Equity. Adjudication filed finding for defendants, exceptions to adjudication dismissed and decree entered, opinion by WILLIAMS, J. Plaintiff appealed.

COUNSEL

Paul Woodward Reeder, with him Furst, McCormick, Muir, Lynn & Reeder, for appellant.

Markin R. Knight, for appellees.

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

Author: Bok

[ 398 Pa. Page 541]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BOK

In 1885 West Fourth Street in Williamsport was known as Millionaire's Row.

We are concerned with three properties in that Row, numbered 405, 407, and 411. Plaintiff owns and lives in 411 and seeks to prevent defendant Plankenhorn, who owns 407 and has an agreement to sell it to defendants, Stegman, from extending the building to within twenty feet of West Fourth Street. The complaint is that this

[ 398 Pa. Page 542]

    would violate existing building restrictions. Construction on the extension has begun but has been halted pending our decision. The court below dismissed the complaint and plaintiff has appealed.

Fine homes were on the three properties at the turn of the century and were on 407 and 411 in 1885. In that year the common owner from whom the present owners of all three lots trace title was a man named Maynard, and he created a restriction that no "dwelling house or other building" should be built on 405 closer to West Fourth Street than fifty feet. In 1889 he created the same restriction for 411 and in 1892 for 407, except that for 407 the restriction ran against "any dwelling house" only, and in both cases no building was to be erected closer to the street than the buildings then on the lots: these were at least fifty feet back in each case. The restrictions on 405 and 407 also specified that no barn or stable should be built on those lots: this does not appear with reference to 411, where a stable may already have existed. It appears that whatever building was built on 405 also set back fifty feet from the street.

It is agreed that for the past twenty years the three lots and the surrounding area have been zoned "business". The buildings on 405 and 411 have been converted to multiple apartment houses, but in each case the building-line restriction has been observed. It is only on 407 that an extension is sought to within fifty feet from the street.

It is agreed that the character of the area has changed. It contains both business and residential structures, but the millionaires, or their ...


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