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MCCRADY CASE. (05/04/60)

May 4, 1960

MCCRADY CASE.


Appeal, No. 75, March T., 1960, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, May T., 1956, No. 286, in re appointment of viewers to assess damages to property of Roland A. MCCrady. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

David E. Abrahamsen, Deputy Attorney General, with him Frank E. Roda, Assistant Attorney General, and Anne X. Alpern, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellant.

John B. Nicklas, Jr., with him Frederick F. Jones, and Gifford, Graham, MacDonald & Illig, and McCrady, & Nicklas, for appellee.

Before Jones, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 399 Pa. Page 588]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES.

Roland A. McCrady, the appellee, has been for many years the owner of a 190 acre farm located in Springfield Township, Erie County. The northwest corner of that farm, triangular in shape, is bounded on the north by U.S.Highway Route No. 20, on the south by Pennsylvania Highway Route No. 5 and on the east by appellee's land.

Within this triangle - consisting of approximately 2 1/4 acres - appellee in 1931 erected a gasoline service station and a restaurant together with a parking area. Under its power of eminent domain and for the purpose of straightening Route No. 5, the Commonwealth in 1935 effected a taking of approximately fifteen feet along the southerly boundary of appellee's triangular tract of land including a portion thereof upon which gas pumps were located. After appellee learned of this taking he presented no claim for any damages and continued to operate, without any interference, the gas pumps on the land taken by the Commonwealth. In 1951 the appellee tore down the old and erected a new gasoline station and at the same time enlarged and remodeled the restaurant building.

On April 30, 1957, the Governor and the Secretary of Highways approved a plan for further highway construction in the area on and adjacent to appellee's triangular plot and this plan was filed in the office of

[ 399 Pa. Page 589]

    the Department of Highways.*fn1 This triangular plot had a southerly boundary approximately 600 feet long and a northerly boundary approximately 250 feet long. This plan of the Commonwealth condemned strips of land along both the southern and the northern boundaries of this triangular plot; it projected a channel change on the southern boundary, approximately 30 feet in length, part of which would be constructed on appellee's land; on land owned by the Commonwealth it established three traffic islands and a highway divider and a curbing, the latter ranging in height from 6inch to 12inch on the inside and from 10inch to 12inch on the outside, which completely surrounded the triangular plot and created thereof an "island"; five access ways, thirty-six feet in width, were provided as means of ingress and egress to the gasoline station, the restaurant and the parking area.

The Department of Highways, acting through its chief area engineer, refused to change, upon appellee's request, either the width or the location of the access ways. These access ways were located in such position that ingress and egress to and from the gasoline station, the restaurant and parking area were rendered exceedingly difficult and, in some instances, impossible. The narrow width of the access ways prevented the entry of large trucks and truck-trailers - representative of a considerable volume of the business of the gasoline station - unless such trucks or truck-trailers first turned to the left into the most southerly ...


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