Appeal, No. 82, March T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, April T., 1955, No. 197, in case of Raymond C. Gilleland et ux. v. New York State Natural Gas Corporation. Judgment reversed.
E. P. Herrington, Jr., with him Fred B. Trescher, and Kunkle and Trescher, for appellant.
H. E. Shaw, with him Scales and Shaw, for appellees.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and McBRIDE, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BOK.
Defendant has appealed a judgment of $9200 for plaintiffs in a condemnation case involving the placing of a transmission gas pipe.
The core question is whether it was speculative, under the evidence, to let the jury consider that the best use of plaintiffs' land was for the development of community lots. We think that it was.
The main conflict in the testimony had to do with the value of the land before and after the taking. Plaintiffs and their five witnesses ranged between $9000 to $19,000 for the difference in market value before and after; defendant's two witnesses from $1500 to $1800. The Board of View awarded $9000.
The essential facts, not disputed, are that plaintiffs own twenty-nine acres, generally bisected by a driveway servicing their home and outbuildings. While this road does not traverse the entire lot, it conveniently divides it into a northerly portion of 16.3 acres and a southerly portion of 12.7 acres. Raymond Gilleland is a dentist and uses the property as his residence.
The defendant, acting under the Act of May 29, 1885, P.L. 29, § 10, 15 PS §§ 1989 and 2031, condemned a right of way and installed a gas pipe of twelve inches' inner diameter and 12 3/4 inches' outer diameter and made of seamless steel electrically welded. It was buried thirty inches below the surface. This pipe's designed load is 1235 pounds per square inch but it could withstand a bit over 2000 pounds. An actual load of 174 pounds has been put on it and defendant does not contemplate ever using over 500 pounds. A domestic gas line uses between two and eight ounces.
The pipe in question enters plaintiffs' property at its northwest corner and travels parallel to the northern boundary, and twenty-five feet from it, for a distance of 1464 feet. It then alters course toward the southeast and leaves the property at a point 119 feet from the northeast corner. The entire right of way is 1802 feet long, and at ...