Appeals from orders of Court of Quarter Sessions of Westmoreland County, July T., 1966, Nos. 16 and 48, in re annexation to City of Greensburg of portions of Hempfield Township.
Thomas Anton, for appellant.
Joseph B. Mitinger, City Solicitor, for appellee.
Ervin, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Spaulding, JJ. (Wright, J., absent). Opinion by Ervin, P. J.
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We have before us two appeals from the decrees of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Westmoreland County
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approving the annexation of two separate portions of Hempfield Township to the City of Greensburg. Both tracts are contiguous to the city but are not related to each other. However, since the procedure in both cases was identical and since we are deciding the cases on a procedure issue, we shall not discuss the merits or demerits of the respective annexations.
Both cases commenced with petitions filed by a majority of the property owners of their respective tracts and, in due course, ordinances of the city were adopted approving the annexation. In accordance with the provisions of the Act of July 20, 1953, P. L. 550, 53 PS § 67501 et seq., the Township of Hempfield filed a timely complaint and requested the appointment of a board of commissioners as a fact-finding body and the court below appointed such a board.
After due notice, the board took the testimony of the interested witnesses. Unfortunately the testimony was not transcribed. The board filed its report with the court. It made many findings of fact but went beyond the scope of its appointment and made a recommendation that the annexation be denied.
Judge McCormick of the court below disagreed with the findings and recommendation of the board and, without any further hearing, filed an opinion in which he substituted his own findings of fact and entered an order approving the annexation.
The Township of Hempfield filed exceptions to the opinion and order, contending, inter alia, that the court erred in substituting its own findings, without the benefit of additional testimony. The court in banc dismissed the exceptions.
The duties of the board of commissioners are set forth in § 4 of the Act of 1953, supra, 53 PS § 67504, as follows: "Within sixty days after its appointment, the board shall inquire into and make findings of fact ...