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LOWER MERION TOWNSHIP APPEAL (09/11/69)

decided: September 11, 1969.

LOWER MERION TOWNSHIP APPEAL


Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, June T., 1968, No. 608, in re redivision of Lower Merion Township into wards.

COUNSEL

Arthur Gregg Jackson, with him John E. Forsythe, Township Solicitor, and MacCoy, Evans & Lewis, for appellant.

David B. Fitzgerald, with him Fitzgerald & Yatsko, for appellees.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Watkins, J.

Author: Watkins

[ 215 Pa. Super. Page 364]

This appeal is from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County which permitted

[ 215 Pa. Super. Page 365]

    the Township of Lower Merion to intervene, but refused to vacate the proceedings to reapportion the Township into wards under The First Class Township Code, Act of June 24, 1931, P. L. 1206, as amended, 53 P.S. § 55401-408.

The appeal raises the question of jurisdiction of the court below to reapportion the Township since the adoption of Article IX, § 11 of the new Constitution by the electorate on April 23, 1968, and is taken pursuant to Act of March 5, 1925, P. L. 23, as amended, 12 P.S. § 672.

Article IX, § 11 of the Constitution reads: "Within the year following that in which the Federal decennial census is officially reported as required by Federal law, and at such other times as the governing body of any municipality shall deem necessary, each municipality having a governing body not entirely elected at large shall be reapportioned, by its governing body or as shall otherwise be provided by uniform law, into districts which shall be composed of compact and contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as practicable, for the purpose of describing the districts for those not elected at large."

The schedule of effective dates for Article IX indicates that Section 11 is to take effect immediately upon its adoption by the electorate which would be April 23, 1968, prior to the filing of the petition in the instant case.

Article IX, Section 11 of the Constitution clearly indicates that for the first time the primary responsibility for reapportioning municipalities shall be placed on the governing body of the municipality in which the governing body is not entirely elected at large. This being apparent, the new Constitution would of necessity have to supersede that portion of The ...


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