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VICTOR DETWEILER AND KATHRYN DETWEILER v. DERRY TOWNSHIP MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY (03/16/77)

decided: March 16, 1977.

VICTOR DETWEILER AND KATHRYN DETWEILER
v.
DERRY TOWNSHIP MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County in case of Victor Detweiler and Kathryn Detweiler v. Derry Township Municipal Authority, No. 1067 June Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

Jerome T. Foerster, with him Cleckner & Fearen, for appellant.

C. Grainger Bowman, with him McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for appellees.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr. and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 278]

This case concerns the application of an assessment resolution which was adopted by Derry Township Municipal Authority (Authority) to defray the cost of constructing a sewer system. Under the resolution and examples attached thereto, "property" situated at the intersection of more than one street in which a sewer was constructed would be assessed not according to the front foot rule but rather according to an equitably adjusted formula.*fn1

Victor and Kathryn Detweiler own property on the corner of Derry Road and McKinley Avenue. They use the entire property as one unit. However, when their property was assessed, it was treated as two separate properties. One parcel, on the corner, was assessed according to the equitably adjusted formula for corner property. The other parcel, contiguous with the first but fronted by Derry Road alone, was assessed according to the standard front foot rule. The two assessments totaled $3,324 and prompted the Detweilers to appeal the amount of the assessment.

The Detweilers' appeal was taken to the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County. Contending that what they owned and used as one property should in

[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 279]

    all fairness be assessed as one property, the Detweilers sought to have all their holdings assessed according to the equitably adjusted formula for corner property. They raised no issue of benefit or of the validity of the assessment; they merely contested the amount they were required to pay.

Authority, seeking to have its assessments sustained in their entirety, contended that the two parcels which comprise the Detweilers' holdings should be treated separately for assessment purposes. It suggested that because the property could be subdivided in the future it should be treated as presently subdivided. Authority further pointed out that the Detweilers' parcels, separate in the past, continue to be held by separate deeds executed at different times.

The lower court believed that all the Detweilers' property should be assessed as corner property. Accordingly, it directed Authority to reduce its claim by $1,014 to $2,310. Authority has appealed the matter to us. We affirm.

Whether all the Detweilers' property is corner property and therefore eligible for the equitably adjusted formula is the issue we must resolve. The term "property" is undefined in ...


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