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HAZLE TOWNSHIP APPEAL. (06/06/60)

June 6, 1960

HAZLE TOWNSHIP APPEAL.


Appeal, No. 204, Jan. T., 1960, from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Luzerne County, Feb. T., 1959, No. 231, in re annexation of a portion of Hazle Township and Sugarloaf Township to the Borough of West Hazleton. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

John E. Cotsack, with him Robert J. Gillespie, and James P. Costello, Jr., for appellants.

Anthony C. Falvello, with him Joseph J. Ustynoski, for appellee.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 400 Pa. Page 195]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO.

Under the Act of July 20, 1953, P.L. 550, 53 PS ยง 67501, the Court of Quarter Sessions of Luzerne County approved the annexation by the Borough of West Hazleton of approximately 550 acres of land lying mostly in Hazle Township and partly in Sugarloaf Township. Hazle Township appealed from the order of annexation, contending that Section 2 of the annexation statute, should be declared unconstitutional on the argument that it directs a petition for annexation shall be certified to the court of quarter sessions without fixing the time within which this is to be done, but yet imposing on the aggrieved persons a period of 30 days from the day of certification within which to complain.

[ 400 Pa. Page 196]

Section 2 reads: "The petition, after its approval by council, commissioners or supervisors, shall be certified to the court of quarter sessions by the secretary of the borough or township or clerk of the city. If, within thirty days thereafter, no person aggrieved by the ordinance complains to the court, asking for the appointment of a board of commissioners as a fact finding body, the court shall determine the question, and, if it is satisfied as to the legality of the proceeding and the propriety of the annexation as serving public interests, shall affirm the annexation."

The court below dismissed the constitutional objection by holding that an annexation proceeding is a legislative and not a judicial proceeding and, therefore, is not subject to procedural due process requirements. There can be no doubt that Hazle Township received timely notice of the annexation proceedings.

Section 1 of the Act under discussion provides, inter alia: "A copy of the petition, without the signatures, shall be filed with the supervisors of the township concerned prior to its presentation to the city, borough, or township, and a certification of such filing shall be signed by at least one signer of the petition and be attached to the petition when presented to the city, borough, or township." This was done. The petition, then, after being duly signed, was presented on December 18, 1958, to the borough of West Hazleton which adopted the ordinance of annexation.

On January 9, 1959, the ordinance, after having been proclaimed in the local newspapers, was certified to the Court of Quarter Sessions of Luzerne County and then duly certified to Hazle Township, which objected to the annexation. The court appointed a board of commissioners to conduct hearings on the objections. After a full ...


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