Appeals, Nos. 345, 346 and 347, Oct. T., 1959, from orders of Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, Nos. 190 and 191, Jan. T., 1959, and No. 316, Jan. T., 1957, in re appeal of Penn-Lehigh Corporation upon Washington Township Route 29 et al.; appeal of Boulevard Bowling Center, Inc.; and appeal of Jordan Enterprises, Inc. Orders reversed.
Wallace H. Webster, Jr., with him Snyder, Webster & Worth, for appellant.
Robert K. Young, for appellant.
John H. McKeever, for appellant.
Donald L. LaBarre, for county, appellee.
David Goldberg, with him Verlin & Goldberg, for interested parties, under Rule 46.
Before Rhodes, P. J., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.
[ 191 Pa. Super. Page 651]
These three appeals involve but one issue: Are bowling lanes real estate and taxable as such under The Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law, Act of May 21, 1943, P.L. 571, as amended, 72 PS § 5453.201?
The facts were stipulated by counsel but some additional testimony was taken. The court below made findings of fact. From all of these we give the following summary: Each of the three appellants is the owner of a tract of ground on which is erected a building which, while presently being used for bowling, is readily adaptable for other purposes, such as, but not limited to, furniture salesroom, warehouse, rollerskating rink, and light industrial manufactory. Each building has a cement floor on which is laid a network of 16-foot 2 X 4 wooden stringers over the entire floor used for bowling lanes, so constructed that the cribbing need not be and is not fastened either to the walls or to the concrete floor. On top of this cribbing is laid rough boarding, called leveling strips, which are fastened to the cribbing, using shims where necessary to produce a level surface. In the Jordan Bowling Center there are 28 bowling lanes, in the Boulevard Bowling Centre there are 24 bowling lanes, and in the Penn-Lehigh Bowling Center there are 8 bowling lanes, each constructed on the premises, from maple boards which are tongued and grooved and then fitted together along the breadth of the board until a height of 42 inches has been obtained, for the length of the lane. This pile
[ 191 Pa. Super. Page 652]
of fitted boards is then turned over to rest upon the leveled undersurface so that the thickness edge of the maple boards constitutes the bowling lane surface of a width of 42 inches. These lanes are keyed in with the approach area and are constituted so that the ends of the boards are staggered. The space between the lanes is occupied by "gutters" of plywood and by a trough for the return of bowling balls to the approach area. The pit for reception of a ball after play is constructed either by a lower level of the basic concrete foundation or by raising the substructure of the lanes to permit the balls to drop off after play. Any anchoring of the lanes is obtained either by fastening the underside of the leveling strip or by the rigidity of the entire system of lanes and troughs within the walls of the playing area. No part of the bowling lane or of the substructure is attached directly to the walls or to the cement floor of the building. Bowling lanes can be removed from one building and replaced in another one by sawing their length into three parts and placing these parts together in the new location. This has in fact been done in many instances and can be done without any damage or injury to them or the building proper. The lanes in question, however, are of original construction. The bowling alleys are not bolted, screwed or otherwise attached directly to the premises and there are no pipes or other ...