Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, August T., 1964, No. 11, in re taking in eminent domain of certain parcels of real estate by Redevelopment Authority of Easton.
E. Jerome Brose, with him Danser, Brose & Poswistilo, for appellants.
Norman Seidel, with him George C. Laub, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell. Mr. Justice Roberts concurs in the result. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones.
This is an appeal by condemnees from the dismissal by the Court of Common Pleas, of their preliminary objections, to a Declaration of Taking under the Eminent Domain Code of 1964.*fn1
On December 14, 1962, Hugh Moore, Jr., was appointed a member of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Easton, Pennsylvania. At the time of his appointment, Moore was under contract to furnish architectural services to the Redeveloper selected by the Authority. This contract was still in force when he resigned from the Authority on September 1, 1964.
Moore voted on four resolutions during the period of his membership on the Authority. These four resolutions were preliminary steps necessary for and leading to the condemnation. However, the Declaration of Taking is the actual condemnation which becomes binding and effective only after authorized by final vote of the Authority and the filing of the Declaration. This last
step and final vote was taken by the members of the Authority on September 14, 1964, which was two weeks after Moore had resigned, and the Declaration was filed on September 15, 1964.
The condemnees contest the validity of this condemnation because of Moore's conflict of interest, while the Redevelopment Authority moved to quash the appeal because the lower Court's Order was interlocutory and should have been brought under Rule 68 1/2, but was not. We shall discuss these in inverse order.
Article Four of the Eminent Domain Code*fn2 deals with the procedure to condemn.
Section 406*fn3 thereof provides: "(a) Within thirty days after being served with notice of condemnation, the condemnee may file preliminary objections to the declaration of taking . . . . Preliminary objections*fn4 shall be limited to and shall be the exclusive method of challenging (1) the power or right of the condemnor to appropriate the condemned property unless the same has been previously adjudicated; (2) the sufficiency of the security; (3) any other procedure followed by the condemnor; ...