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TAKING EMINENT DOMAIN CERTAIN PARCELS REAL ESTATE LOCATED CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT URBAN RENEWAL PROJECT NO. 2 v. REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY CITY BETHLEHEM (08/17/77)

decided: August 17, 1977.

IN RE TAKING IN EMINENT DOMAIN OF CERTAIN PARCELS OF REAL ESTATE LOCATED IN THE CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT URBAN RENEWAL PROJECT NO. 2, PROJECT PENNA. R-404 IN THE CITY OF BETHLEHEM, NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, BY THE REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF BETHLEHEM, PENNSYLVANIA. ALICE E. WEIDNER, WIDOW, JAMES M. SMITH, A/K/A JAMES MERRITT SMITH, SINGLE, ALICE E. WEIDNER, EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF STUART S. S. SMITH, AND THE HEIRS OF THE ESTATE OF STUART S. S. SMITH, FRANCES S. SMITH, WIDOW OF STUART S. S. SMITH, AND BERNICE F. HAMMEL (FORMERLY BERNICE S. SMITH) AND JOSEPH HAMMEL, HER HUSBAND, APPELLANTS,
v.
REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF BETHLEHEM



COUNSEL

James S. Palermo, Hazleton, for appellants.

Michael E. Riskin, Bethlehem, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Jones, former C. J., took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. O'Brien, J., files an opinion in support of affirmance which Eagen, C. J., and Pomeroy, J., join. Roberts, J., files an opinion in support of reversal which Nix and Manderino, JJ., join. Manderino, J., files an opinion in support of reversal which Roberts and Nix, JJ., join.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 474 Pa. Page 76]

OPINION

The court being equally divided, the judgment of sentence is affirmed.

[ 474 Pa. Page 77]

OPINION IN SUPPORT OF AFFIRMANCE

O'BRIEN, Justice.

Appellants, Alice E. Weidner, widow; James M. Smith, a/k/a James Merritt Smith, single; Alice E. Weidner, Executrix of the Estate of Stuart S. S. Smith; and the heirs of the Estate of Stuart S. S. Smith; Frances S. Smith, widow of Stuart S. S. Smith; and Bernice F. Hammel (formerly Bernice S. Smith) and Joseph Hammel, her husband, were former landowners of a certain parcel of real estate in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The parcel consisted of four storefronts with apartments, three houses and a parking lot. On April 18, 1973, appellee, Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem, filed a declaration of taking, condemning the above real estate.

Upon the failure of the parties to reach a settlement, a board of viewers was appointed. On November 27, 1973, the board of viewers awarded appellants $114,000. On December 4, 1973, appellants filed an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County. On May 13, 1974, a jury trial commenced, and on May 15, the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $167,500 in favor of appellants. Post-verdict motions were dismissed by the court en banc. The Redevelopment Authority then took an appeal to Commonwealth Court. On December 11, 1975, Commonwealth Court reversed the judgment of the court below and ordered a new trial. Appellants filed a petition to our court for allowance of appeal. On June 4, 1976, this court granted the petition.

Appellants argue that Commonwealth Court erred in excluding testimony concerning the price paid by the Redevelopment Authority for a parcel of real estate which adjoined that of ...


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