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UNIVERSITY CLUB v. PITTSBURGH (11/12/70)

decided: November 12, 1970.

UNIVERSITY CLUB, APPELLANT,
v.
PITTSBURGH



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County, July T., 1967, No. 3421, in case of University Club v. The City of Pittsburgh.

COUNSEL

Ralph H. German, with him William S. Smith, and Houston, Cooper, Speer & German, for appellant.

Frederick A. Boehm, First Assistant City Solicitor, with him Marion K. Finkelhor, Assistant City Solicitor, and Ralph Lynch, Jr., City Solicitor, for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Mr. Justice O'Brien and Mr. Justice Pomeroy took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Eagen

[ 440 Pa. Page 563]

In this action of assumpsit, the University Club of Pittsburgh (Club) sought a refund of taxes paid the

[ 440 Pa. Page 564]

    city of Pittsburgh (City) which allegedly were not due. The case was tried non-jury, and judgment was entered in favor of the defendant-city. Subsequently, exceptions to the adjudication were dismissed, and a final judgment entered. The University Club appeals.

The material facts are undisputed.

The appellant is a nonprofit corporation operating as a private social club, with a membership of over two thousand. The facilities are located on University Place in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. Adjacent to its clubhouse the Club has provided an uncovered parking lot for seventy cars which only members are allowed to utilize. A flat rate of eighty-five cents is currently assessed every time a member parks his car in the lot. This rate is comparable to short-term parking rates in the area but is less than all-day parking rates in the Oakland section. The fee is not immediately collected; instead the amount is added to the member's bill.

In 1962 the city of Pittsburgh levied a parking tax of 10% on the gross receipts with respect to transactions involving the parking of motor vehicles at commercial parking places. The legislation, Ordinance No. 434 of 1962, subsequently re-enacted, imposes the tax on "all transactions of each operator with respect to each commercial parking place . . . ." Transaction is defined as "the parking or storing of a motor vehicle at a commercial parking place for a consideration." "Commercial parking place" is defined as "any place within the City, whether wholly or partially enclosed or open, at which motor vehicles are parked or stored for any period of time in return for a consideration . . ." The only enumerated exceptions are parking lots operated in connection with residences, apartments, hotels, and trailer courts.

The appellant contends that the parking lot ordinance is applicable only to ...


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