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PROJECT AREA COMMITTEE PROJECT PA. R-668(C) BY THEODORE SPENCER v. WILLIAM H. WILCOX (04/01/74)

decided: April 1, 1974.

PROJECT AREA COMMITTEE OF PROJECT PA. R-668(C) BY THEODORE SPENCER, TRUSTEE AD LITEM, AND LOWER BROADWAY CITIZENS' GROUP BY JOSEPH GOLEMBIESKI, TRUSTEE AD LITEM, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
WILLIAM H. WILCOX, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS, AND REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF NANTICOKE, DEFENDANTS



Original jurisdiction in case of Project Area Committee of Project Pa. R-668(c) by Theodore Spencer, Trustee Ad Litem, and Lower Broadway Citizens' Group by Joseph Golembieski, Trustee Ad Litem, v. William H. Wilcox, Secretary, Department of Community Affairs, and Redevelopment Authority of the City of Nanticoke.

COUNSEL

Philip F. Hudock, for plaintiffs.

Lawrence H. Sindaco, with him Donald D. McFadden and Flanagan, Doran, Biscontini & Shaffer, for defendants.

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

Author: Wilkinson

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 5]

Plaintiffs filed this complaint in equity in our original jurisdiction praying that the defendants, the Secretary of Community Affairs and the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Nanticoke, be temporarily enjoined from entering into a contract to implement the Lower Broadway Disaster Urban Renewal Area Project No. Pa. R-668(c), a total clearance flood control project based on a capital grant of $2,342,561.00 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Title 1 of the Housing Act of 1949, as amended, 42 U.S.C.A. § 1441 et seq., and a grant in aid of $733,332.00 by the Department of Community Affairs of the Commonwealth.

In addition, plaintiffs pray for a preliminary injunction against the defendant Secretary to restrain

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 6]

    him from requiring the project to proceed on a total clearance basis or, in the alternative, to require the defendant Secretary to undertake a full and complete investigation of the facts relative to whether this project needs to be a partial or a total clearance project. Defendant Authority filed preliminary objections raising the question of equity's jurisdiction due to an adequate remedy at law and this Court's jurisdiction over defendant Authority.

After a hearing and argument, the request for preliminary injunction was denied. This case is now before us for disposition of the preliminary objections. Inasmuch as we must sustain the preliminary objection that there is an adequate remedy at law, we need not reach the question of this Court's jurisdiction over defendant Authority.

The plaintiffs are citizens who are either property owners or tenants located within the boundaries of the proposed urban renewal project and would be displaced if, but only if, the properties they own or occupy as tenants are acquired as a result of the project. The plaintiffs recognize that the gravamen of their action is that defendant Authority will proceed with eminent domain actions to acquire the properties they own or occupy, for it is alleged in the complaint in paragraph C-5 that this project is a flood control project as mentioned in Section 602 of the Eminent Domain Code, Act of June 22, 1964, Special Sess., P.L. 84, as amended, 26 P.S. § 1-602.

It is the plaintiffs' position that the defendant Secretary, by his allegedly arbitrary and capricious actions, allegedly taken in bad faith, did improperly exercise influence over the City Council of the City of Nanticoke and the defendant Redevelopment Authority of the City of Nanticoke in their decision that the project be a total clearance ...


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