Appeal, No. 290, April T., 1962, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Butler County, Dec. T., 1962, No. C.P. 35, in case of Ralph J. Steeb v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Judgment affirmed.
Lee C. McCandless, with him Richard L. McCandless, for appellant.
Willis A. MacDonald, with him John L. Sweezy, for Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, appellee.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Ervin, Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (woodside, J., absent).
[ 200 Pa. Super. Page 205]
We are here concerned with an eminent domain proceeding arising out of the construction of the western extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The issue is whether the property owner is barred from recovery (a) by the statute of limitations and, if not, (b) by estoppel. The viewers resolved this issue adversely to the property owner. Upon appeal to the court of Common pleas, the case was submitted by the parties for decision on an agreed statement of facts "without further testimony and hereby waiving the right to a trial by jury". After hearing argument, the court below affirmed the decision of the Board of View, and entered judgment in favor of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. The property owner has appealed.
On April 1, 1946, Clarence T. Steeb was the owner of one hundred and nine acres of land in Cranberry Township, Butler County, on which there was an unrecorded oil and gas lease given that date to Clarence's
[ 200 Pa. Super. Page 206]
brother, Ralph J. Steeb.*fn1 By resolution dated June 14, 1949, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission condemned a fee simple title through this land for a distance of twenty-four hundred feet with a width of two hundred feet. In the spring of 1950 the Commission began construction of the Turnpike. Clarence filed a timely petition for viewers to determine his damages. There was a hearing before the viewers on August 18, 1954, at which time Ralph testified as to Clarence's damages, but made no claim for damages in his own right. Although inquiry was made by the viewers concerning outstanding leaseholds, Ralph did not mention any personal interest in the property. He recorded his lease on August 8, 1955, and thereafter (October 31, 1955) instituted the instant proceeding by filing a petition for viewers to have his damages determined. The amount has been agreed upon, and this issue is, as previously indicated, whether Ralph is entitled to recover.
The Act of May 23, 1891, P.L. 109, as amended, 12 P.S. 43, provides in pertinent part as follows: "Petitions for the assessment of damages for the opening or widening of any street, road or highway, when the damages are not assessed by the view opening the road, may be filed in the court of quarter sessions within the period of six years from the final confirmation of a report, or the entry of a decree or order opening the said street, road or highway, or within six years from the date of notice of the intended opening of the same, under an ordinance or resolution duly passed, but not thereafter. In the case of State highways or other highways or roads which the Secretary of Highways
[ 200 Pa. Super. Page 207]
has authority to change, alter or widen, with the approval of the Governor, such petitions shall be presented within six years from the date of the approval of the plan by the Governor, but not thereafter. All claims shall be ...