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CLEARFIELD AREA HOUSING CORPORATION v. ROGER L. HUGHES (04/16/74)

decided: April 16, 1974.

CLEARFIELD AREA HOUSING CORPORATION, APPELLANT,
v.
ROGER L. HUGHES, H. R. OBLEMAN AND ASBURY W. LEE, IV, APPELLEES. CLEARFIELD COUNTY HOUSING AUTHORITY, APPELLANT, V. ROGER L. HUGHES, H. R. OBLEMAN AND ASBURY W. LEE, IV, APPELLEES



Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County in case of Roger L. Hughes, H. R. Obleman and Asbury W. Lee, IV, v. Clearfield Area Housing Corporation and Clearfield County Housing Authority, No. 2, March Term, 1973 (In Equity).

COUNSEL

W. McC. Miller, Jr., with him J. A. Katarincic, J. E. Beard, III, and Kirkpatrick, Lockhart, Johnson & Hutchison, for appellants.

Carl A. Belin, Jr., with him Belin, Belin & Naddeo, for appellees.

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

Author: Rogers

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 97]

In this equity action, which is a companion to the case of Township of Lawrence, Clearfield County Housing Authority and Clearfield Area Housing Corporation v. Thompson, 13 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 90, 318 A.2d 759 (1974), filed simultaneously herewith, certain property owners of Lawrence Township, Clearfield County, sought in the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County to enjoin the Clearfield Housing

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 98]

Corporation from continuing to construct a low-income housing project near the location of the plaintiffs' homes in Lawrence Township.

Construction of the housing project which is the subject of this suit was begun soon after January 17, 1973, on which date $4,000,000 of bonds of the Clearfield Area Housing Corporation were sold and the Housing Corporation entered into a lease of the project to be constructed to the Clearfield Area Housing Authority.

The plaintiffs on March 7, 1973, filed a complaint and on May 25, 1973, an amended complaint naming the Clearfield Area Housing Corporation as defendant. No preliminary relief was sought. The Clearfield Area Housing Authority was permitted to intervene below as a defendant. The defendants filed preliminary objections, which were dismissed. The defendants filed answers. A trial was conducted in July and August 1973. On November 9, 1973, the court entered a Memorandum and Order stating in pertinent part, the following: "[B]eing convinced that injustice has been definitely committed, particularly in that the Defendants abused their discretion, now must find for Plaintiffs, H. R. Obleman and Asbury W. Lee, IV. They proceeded with contracts and construction (and have continued the same despite two proceedings seeking to terminate and discontinue such construction). The testimony clearly establishes that Defendants made no selection of the site except as they received and accepted the recommendation made by the representative of the builder. It is also quite clear from the evidence that Defendants and their builder did not comply with the requirements of sewage disposal and other matters to sustain their right to proceed with the construction. There was a complete disregard of those permanent residents of the area and the affect [sic] upon them in providing this site and continuing with any [sic]

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 99]

    construction of the low-income project. We are convinced that all of the action in this case by Defendants was most arbitrary; and therefore was without proper foundation."

The defendants filed exceptions which the court below dismissed by a second memorandum and this appeal followed. We have the benefit of no findings or conclusions of the court below and the only evidence as to what moved the court to grant the plaintiffs the extraordinary relief of restraining the continued construction of the project is the above quoted portion of the ...


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