Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, April T., 1965, No. 15, in re matter of condemnation of certain parcels of land in First Ward of City of Lancaster condemned by Redevelopment Authority, being property formerly of Tony Faranda.
W. Roger Simpson, for appellant.
Frank Edward Roda, with him Stein, Storb and Mann, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell.
This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County which dismissed preliminary objections to a "declaration of taking" filed by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster [Authority].
On April 9, 1965, the Authority filed a "declaration of taking" of certain properties in the second block of North Queen Street in the City of Lancaster [City]. The reason underlying such condemnation was to accomplish the alleged public purpose of carrying into effect a duly approved proposal and plan for the redevelopment of an area which had been certified as a blighted area by the Planning Commission of the City. One of the properties affected by the Commission's
plan was property located at 170-172 North Queen Street owned by one Tony Faranda, a property improved with a three story brick granite building utilized by Faranda as a taproom with family living quarters on the second and third floors.
On May 7, 1965 -- 29 days after service of notice upon him -- Faranda filed preliminary objections to the "declaration of taking". The court below then granted the Authority leave to file an amended "declaration of taking" to change one of the averments complained of by Faranda in his original objections. An amended "declaration of taking" was filed on May 19, 1965, to which Faranda again filed preliminary objections wherein one of the prior objections was again raised and three new objections were interposed. The court en banc dismissed the preliminary objections.
Initially, it must be noted that we have recently held that preliminary objections constitute the exclusive method of challenging condemnation proceedings under the new Eminent Domain Code, infra; Mahan v. Lower Merion Township, 418 Pa. 558, 212 A.2d 217.
Faranda's first preliminary objection is directed to the adequacy of the description of the purpose of the condemnation contained in the "declaration of taking". Faranda urges that, since the "declaration of taking" fails to state eo nomine that the purpose of the condemnation is the elimination of a blighted area, the "declaration" is defective under the statutory mandate set forth in the Eminent Domain Code (Act of June 22, 1964, P. L. 84, 26 P.S. § 1-402(b)(4)), which provides that the "declaration of taking" shall contain "a brief description of the purpose of the condemnation and the need therefor." The lower court, in dismissing this objection, held that an examination of the language of the "declaration" indicated that there was a sufficient statement of the purpose of the condemnation to satisfy the statutory requirement. With such conclusion we agree.
In compliance with the statute, the Authority prepared its "declaration of taking" to read as follows: "4. That the condemnation by the Redevelopment Authority was in order to accomplish the public purpose of carrying into effect the duly approved proposal and plan for the redevelopment of the North Queen Street Project known as Project No. R-178, located in the First Ward of the City of Lancaster, County of Lancaster and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. [Emphasis supplied]. 5. The purpose of the condemnation is to acquire the properties located within the area certified as blighted by the Planning Commission of the City of Lancaster in order that said areas may be replanned and redeveloped to promote the public health, safety, convenience and welfare. [Emphasis supplied]. 6. The property of the owner as shown in the caption is ...