Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, No. 70-3412, in case of Paul H. Vogel, Jr. and Connie E. Vogel, his wife, and William A. Paul and Amelia J. Paul, his wife v. Robert V. Haas and Theresa C. Haas, his wife, and Cecelia M. McLaughlin and others.
Allen E. Ertel, P. C. and Ertel & Kieser, for appellants.
Clinton W. Smith, and Stuart, Murphy, Hager & Smith, for appellees.
Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen.
This is an action in equity instituted by Paul H. Vogel, Jr., and Connie E. Vogel, his wife, and William A. Paul and Amelia J. Paul, his wife, against a group of individuals who, like the plaintiffs, are the owners of land in a residential development located in Loyalsock Township, Lycoming County, known as "Highland Farms." The controlling facts were stipulated by the parties in the trial court and may be summarized as follows.
The plan of Highland Farms was recorded in the recorder of deeds office of Lycoming County on December 8, 1927, by the then owners of the tract, Montague A. Percy and his wife, Edna M. Percy. A certain 50
foot wide area included within the development was set apart on this recorded plan by dotted lines and was marked "Reserved For Future Street." This 50 foot wide area runs east and west and is approximately parallel to Orchard Avenue which lies to its north. It also lies parallel to Spring Garden Mills Road (now Four Mile Drive) which lies to its south. All lots included in the plan of Highland Farms run from Orchard Avenue southward to Spring Garden Mills Road and cut across the area reserved for the future street.
The street has never been open for public use; nor, has it ever been accepted as such by any public authority. However, each deed conveying title to purchasers of land from the subdivision was described by the lot number corresponding to that on the 1927 recorded plan, and each deed also included a specific reference to the 1927 recorded plan which, as noted before, contained the 50 foot wide reservation for a future street.
In recent years, the plaintiffs Vogel and the plaintiffs Paul attempted to open two separate parts of the street leading from their land to nearby streets which are open and in use. The defendants named in the action objected and obstructed such efforts. As a result, the plaintiffs filed a complaint in equity seeking to enjoin this interference.
The chancellor entered a decree nisi which was later made final by a court en banc restraining the defendants from interfering with the Vogels, or their heirs and assigns, and from opening and using that portion of the street leading to the Vogel property from other opened streets. The decree ruled against the claim of the plaintiffs Paul on the ground that any rights these plaintiffs had in the street were lost through adverse possession of ...