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COUNTY ALLEGHENY v. CHURCH JESUS CHRIST (08/01/74)

decided: August 1, 1974.

COUNTY OF ALLEGHENY, APPELLANT,
v.
THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of In Re: The Condemnation by the County of Allegheny of Certain Parcels of Land in Findlay Township, now or formerly of the Church of Jesus Christ, a Pennsylvania Corporation, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining air navigation and terminal facilities, No. 24 July Term, 1972.

COUNSEL

Samuel P. Kamin, Assistant County Solicitor, with him Francis A. Barry, County Solicitor, for appellant.

Leonard M. Mendelson, with him Hollinshead and Mendelson, for appellee.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 14 Pa. Commw. Page 512]

Preliminary Objections by the Church of Jesus Christ (Appellee) to the declaration of taking in eminent domain filed by the County of Allegheny (Appellant) were sustained by the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.

This appeal followed, which we sustain and reverse the court below.

In May 1967, Appellee engaged the services of an architect and instructed him to prepare plans and specifications for the construction of a church to be erected on its Findlay Township site in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In May 1969, a construction contract was executed and shortly thereafter (July 2, 1969) the contractor had completed all the rough grading and 75% of the foundation excavation.

It was at this time that the architect was requested to meet with Clifford A. Barbarow, Deputy Chief of Air Traffic Control Facility, Greater Pittsburgh Airport. At this meeting, the architect was told by Eric C. Jones, Assistant Director, Department of Aviation, Allegheny County, that the Airport planned to expand its facilities and that his client's property was a part of the acquisition plans. Not unnaturally the architect sought to determine whether his project should proceed. It was at this juncture that Jones "advised" him to cease construction activity.*fn1

The architect accepted the "advice" and ordered cessation of the construction on July 3, 1969.

On or about August 6, 1969, the Airport expansion program was publicized by Appellant. On August 14, 1969, the Allegheny County Commissioners approved a master plan for the expansion, which included Appellee's property.

[ 14 Pa. Commw. Page 513]

Appellant's appraisers commenced negotiations for compensation for the acquisition of its property forthwith. No settlement figure was reached ...


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