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COSTON v. UPPER MERION TOWNSHIP (ET AL. (07/23/68)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: July 23, 1968.

COSTON
v.
UPPER MERION TOWNSHIP (ET AL., APPELLANT)

Appeal from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Montgomery County, Nov. T., 1965, No. 12, in case of Donald V. Coston et al. v. Upper Merion Township.

COUNSEL

David Berger, with him Edward Fackenthal, Knox Henderson, and Henderson, Wetherill & O'Hey, and Silver & Barsky, and Cohen, Shapiro, Berger, Polisher and Cohen, for appellant.

Richard C. Sorlien, with him James Paul Dornberger, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Spaulding, JJ. (Hannum, J., absent).

Author: Per Curiam

[ 212 Pa. Super. Page 546]

This case arose out of a controversy over the enactment of a zoning ordinance by the Board of Supervisors of Upper Merion Township in Montgomery

[ 212 Pa. Super. Page 547]

County. At the conclusion of the proceedings below, the Court of Quarter Sessions of Montgomery County entered an order declaring the zoning ordinance invalid.

We need not reiterate the lengthy factual background of the case at this time nor reach the merits of the parties' contentions on the ground that our Court has no jurisdiction over such matters.

The Act of June 24, 1895, P. L. 212, as amended, August 14, 1963, 17 P.S. 181, 182, defines the jurisdiction of the Superior Court. That Act provides that the Superior Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all appeals from Quarter Sessions Courts, "except as hereinafter provided in this Act." 17 P.S. § 191.4, however, provides that the Superior Court shall have no jurisdiction in "(7) Appeals from orders of the courts of common pleas and courts of quarter sessions of the peace involving or arising out of acts, ordinances, regulations or orders relating to zoning." Under this provision, zoning controversies must be directly appealed to the Supreme Court, which has exclusive jurisdiction in such matters.

In light of the fact that this case arose directly out of a controversy over a zoning ordinance, the above provisions of the Act dictate that this case must be certified to the Supreme Court. The case of West Meade Township Appeal, 416 Pa. 73, 204 A.2d 247 (1964), cited in appellant's brief is inapposite. That case dealt with an annexation problem, an issue over which we continue to have jurisdiction. Moreover, that case clearly stated that the Superior Court has exclusive jurisdiction over appeals from Courts of Quarter Sessions, except as provided in the new Act.

Nor, in our opinion, is the case of Commonwealth ex rel. Ransom Township v. Mascheska, 429 Pa. 168, 239 A.2d 386 (1968), here relevant. In that case, the Supreme Court determined that we had jurisdiction in

[ 212 Pa. Super. Page 548]

    a case involving a penalty assessed in a summary proceeding by a justice of the peace on a person who had violated a zoning ordinance. This determination was made because under 17 P.S. §§ 184 and 184.1 we have exclusive jurisdiction from all orders of the courts of common pleas which involve summary proceedings before a justice of the peace. The Supreme Court found, in effect, that the fact that the summary proceeding arises out of the violation of a zoning ordinance would not alter this fact. We do not believe, however, that the same holding is applicable here where the issue in question is the validity of the zoning ordinance itself.

For the reason above, we hold that the Superior Court has no jurisdiction in the instant case, and, therefore, certify the case to the Supreme Court pursuant to the above Act.

Disposition

Case certified to Supreme Court.

19680723

© 1998 VersusLaw Inc.



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