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NIXON HOTEL v. REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY CITY BUTLER (01/18/74)

decided: January 18, 1974.

NIXON HOTEL, INCORPORATED, APPELLANT,
v.
REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF BUTLER, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County in case of Redevelopment Authority of the City of Butler v. Nixon Hotel, Inc., No. C.P. 151 June Term, 1973.

COUNSEL

Lee C. McCandless, with him Frank P. Krizner and McCandless, Chew & Krizner, for appellant.

Martin J. O'Brien, for appellee.

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

Author: Bowman

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 521]

Appellee, Redevelopment Authority, filed a declaration of taking under the Eminent Domain Code*fn1 in Butler County to which the appellant, Nixon Hotel, Incorporated, filed preliminary objections raising the questions of the sufficiency of appellee's bond, appellee's right and power to take and the procedure followed by appellee, alleging bad faith, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious action.

Following the filing of an answer to appellant's preliminary objections, the appellant moved for a jury trial on the preliminary objections, which was granted. To this order appellee appealed to the Supreme Court, which appeal, on appellant's motion, was quashed.

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 522]

Trial was held on the issues raised by appellant's preliminary objections and a verdict was returned for the appellee. After motions for Judgment N.O.V. and for a new trial were denied, appellant appealed to this Court. Numerous issues are presented by this appeal, and since we find them without merit the order of the lower court will be affirmed.

The Nixon Hotel property is located within a 12.8 acre area that was certified as blighted by resolution of the Bitler City Planning Commission and Zoning Commission on January 23, 1967.*fn2

After appropriate notice and public hearing, the Council of the City of Butler approved by resolution the Redevelopment Proposal and Redevelopment Area Plan submitted by the Authority as required by law.

Negotiations for acquisition of the appellant's property by the appellee having failed, the appellee then passed a resolution condemning appellant's property and filed its declaration of taking.

The trial on appellant's preliminary objections commenced on May 3, 1972, was continued until May 16, 1972, and proceeded on May 17 and 18, 1972. On May 18, 1972, the trial was adjourned until May 23, 1972, on which day the trial was concluded with closing arguments and the court's charge. Appellant's initial contention is that the delays and adjournments conveyed the impression to the jury that the case was unimportant and due to the complexity of the issues a just decision could not have been rendered.

The record reveals that the trial judge repeatedly advised the jury of the importance of the case, and there is nothing in the record to suggest that the jury believed otherwise. Furthermore, the record reveals that in the pre-trial conference the estimated time of

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 523]

    the trial was two days. That it considerably exceeded this estimate is no one's fault, rather the delays were unforeseeable necessitating the adjournments. We cannot say that two adjournments under these circumstances was unreasonable or that the trial judge abused his discretion. Plow City, 122 F. 2d 816 (3rd ...


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