Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 64-12160, in case of Upper Gwynedd Township Authority v. Mario J. Caltabiano et ux.
David O. Williams, with him Landis & Williams, for appellants.
Samuel H. High, Jr., with him High, Swartz, Roberts & Seidel, for appellee.
Ervin, P. J., Wright, Montgomery, Jacobs, and Hoffman, JJ. (Watkins and Flood, JJ., absent). Opinion by Ervin, P. J.
[ 206 Pa. Super. Page 477]
The single question presented by this appeal is whether a corner lot with a frontage on two streets may be assessed for a sewer constructed in both streets at the same time and under the same project, where an exemption of 100 feet is allowed on one of the streets and where the lot is zoned for a single residential use and where the residence on the lot is connected with the sewer by a single lateral in one of the streets. The court below entered judgment for the plaintiff on the municipal claim.
We have been unable to discover any cases in either of our appellate courts specifically disposing of this problem.
[ 206 Pa. Super. Page 478]
The property in question is located at the corner of Weber Road and Marlyn's Lane. The house constructed on the property faces Weber Road and is connected to the sewer line in that road. It is a single family dwelling and the lot contains approximately 30,000 square feet of land. The sewer authority assessed the property for 150 feet frontage on Weber Road and 100 feet frontage on Marlyn's Lane, after giving credit for an exemption of 100 feet on the latter highway.
The appellants argue that their property has not been benefited by the sewer line constructed in Marlyn's Lane. A property benefited by a municipal improvement cannot be subsequently assessed for a second improvement of the same character: Vendetti Appeal, 181 Pa. Superior Ct. 214, 124 A.2d 448.
Only the frontage of a property actually abutting the sewer may be used in computing said property's share of the cost when the assessment is made according to the foot front rule: Wilson v. Upper Moreland-Hatboro Joint Sewer Authority, 183 Pa. Superior Ct. 588, 132 A.2d 909, affirmed by the Supreme Court, 392 Pa. 245, 140 A.2d 450.
There has always been an inherent limitation to any method of assessment for public improvements and that is, that there must be a benefit conferred upon the property so assessed: Upper Moreland-Hatboro Joint Sewer Authority v. Pearson, 190 Pa. Superior Ct. 107, 152 A.2d 774. In the latter case it was held that where a property was connected to a sewer in the street along its front, no assessment could be levied for a sewer later constructed in the street abutting the rear property line.
The foot front method of apportionment is but a practical substitute for an actual assessment by a jury of view. It is not a principle of taxation but is merely a convenient method of practical adjustment of ...