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PERKASIE BOROUGH'S ANNEXATION CASE (07/30/71)

decided: July 30, 1971.

PERKASIE BOROUGH'S ANNEXATION CASE


Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Criminal Division, at No. 668 Miscellaneous Term, 1964, in case of Annexation of a Portion of the Township of East Rockhill to the Borough of Perkasie.

COUNSEL

Kenneth G. Biehn, with him Biehn & Thatcher, for appellant.

David A. Franklin, with him Townsend, Elliott & Munson and Smith & Wilson, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman, and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Manderino, Mencer and Rogers. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 3 Pa. Commw. Page 38]

Appellant, East Rockhill Township, seeks to reverse an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County which approved the annexation of a portion of that township by the Borough of Perkasie. The Borough at argument raised what is in essence a motion to quash the appeal for lack of timeliness. Both the appeal on the merits and the motion to quash have been consolidated for argument and disposition. We dismiss the motion to quash and affirm the order of the court below.

Because of the involved time and incident sequence, we shall set forward the events which have precipitated this action as follows:

On October 7, 1963, certain freeholders of land in East Rockhill Township (Township) presented to the Borough Council of the Borough of Perkasie (Borough), at a regularly scheduled meeting, a petition requesting annexation by the Borough of 69.0528 acres comprising five parcels entirely within the Township and very small portions of two parcels partially within the Township (the remaining portions of these parcels already being part of the Borough). Five of these parcels were titled by husbands and wives as tenants by the entireties, one parcel was titled by Arthur D. Fretz and J. Richard Fretz with no other designation of ownership and the final parcel was held in the name of

[ 3 Pa. Commw. Page 39]

Benjamin K. Hedrick and Walter Hedrick, co-partners, t/a B. K. Hedrick and Son.

The petition dated October 7, 1963 contained the signatures of both spouses of four of the five tenancies by the entireties; the signatures of both owners of the Fretz tract, and; the signature "Benjamin K. Hedrick & Son by Walter Hedrick: for the Hedrick tract." Borough Council accepted the petition and directed that an annexation ordinance be prepared.

On November 11, 1963, at the next regular Borough Council meeting two of the husbands and their wives presented a declaration of withdrawal, requesting the removal of their names from the petition, asserting in support of their request that their signatures on the petition were the result of persuasion by its circulators and not the result of any conviction or belief that the annexation would be of benefit to the area. As a result of the withdrawal declaration and the requests of Township representatives, the proposed annexation ordinance was tabled until the next regular Borough Council meeting, December 9, 1963, at which time it was adopted.

December 17, 1963, the new ordinance was filed with the Clerk of the then Court of Quarter Sessions of Bucks County.

January 15, 1964, the Township, through its Supervisors, petitioned the court to review the propriety and legality of the ordinance. Thereafter, the Borough filed a motion with the court requesting the appointment of commissioners for this purpose in compliance with the Second Class Township Code, Act of July 20, 1953, P.L. 550, 53 P.S. ยงยง 67501 et seq.

On February 6, 1964, Judge Monroe, of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Bucks County, appointed a three-man commission which held a hearing on August 12, 1964, to take testimony on the propriety and legality of the annexation.

[ 3 Pa. Commw. Page 40]

On March 15, 1965, the Commission filed a report recommending approval of the annexation.

May 17, 1965, the issue was argued before the court en banc.

December 15, 1969, the court affirmed the annexation ordinance.

January 8, 1970, the Township filed a petition for reargument, which was granted, ...


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