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STOUTENBURGH v. UPPER MORELAND-HATBORO JOINT SEWER AUTHORITY (03/24/60)

March 24, 1960

STOUTENBURGH
v.
UPPER MORELAND-HATBORO JOINT SEWER AUTHORITY, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 317, Oct. T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, June T., 1956, No. 463, in case of Robert S. Stoutenburgh et al. v. Upper Moreland-Hatboro Joint Sewer Authority. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Samuel H. High, Jr., with him High, Swartz, Childs & Roberts, for appellant.

Conrad G. Moffett, for appellees.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Woodside

[ 191 Pa. Super. Page 597]

OPINION BY WOODSIDE, J.

The parties here seek an answer to a simple question of law: Can a sewer authority, assessing the cost of constructing a sanitary sewer according to the front foot rule, assess only that part of the frontage of a lot which abuts its sewer pipe, or can it assess the entire frontage? We agree with the court below that it can assess only that portion of the frontage which abuts the sewer.

[ 191 Pa. Super. Page 598]

The plaintiffs, Robert S. Stoutenburgh and wife, own a lot with a frontage of 75 feet on Montgomery Avenue in Hatboro. The defendant, Upper Moreland- Hatboro Joint Sewer Authority, laid a sewer in the bed of Montgomery Avenue abutting the plaintiffs' property for 11.6 feet, but assessed the premises for 75 feet. The Stoutenburghs filed a petition in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County for a declaratory judgment to invalidate the assessment beyond 11.6 feet.

The court below concluded that this case was ruled by Wilson v. Upper Moreland-Hatboro Authority, 183 Pa. Superior Ct. 588, 132 A.2d 909 (1957), affirmed by the Supreme Court on the opinion of Judge ERVIN, 392 Pa. 245, 140 A.2d 450 (1958),*fn1 and declared the assessment valid as to 11.6 feet and invalid as to any additional frontage. In the Wilson case the defendant's sewer pipe was brought only to one corner of the plaintiffs' lot and not constructed in front of it; in this case the pipe was in front of the lot for 11.6 of the 75 feet. Otherwise, the cases are the same. Although the facts are not identical, the principles applied and the reasoning followed in the Wilson case pertain with equal force to this case. Judge FORREST demonstrated this in his opinion for the court below. The argument of the authority made to the appellate courts in this case followed closely the argument made and rejected in that case.

There is no need to repeat any part of Judge ERVIN'S opinion in the Wilson case. An examination of the opinion will show that nearly all of what was said there applies here. We held there that the assessment could

[ 191 Pa. Super. Page 599]

    not be made against the frontage where the authority ...


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