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CARL E. RIECK v. VIRGINIA MANOR COMPANY ET AL. (12/02/77)

decided: December 2, 1977.

CARL E. RIECK, JR. AND JOAN DEGNAN RIECK, HIS WIFE
v.
VIRGINIA MANOR COMPANY ET AL.



No. 811 April Term, 1975, Appeal of Osborne Fremd, et ux, and James L. Smith, Jr., et ux. No. 824 April Term, 1975, Appeal of Carl E. Rieck, Jr. and Joan Degnan Rieck, his wife. Appeal from Opinion, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of law and Order dated June 30, 1975, of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Civil Division at No. 1663 January 1973.

COUNSEL

John B. Nicklas, Jr., Pittsburgh, with him Alan M. Bloch, Pittsburgh, for appellant at No. 811, and appellee at No. 824.

Richard G. Kotarba, with him Myer, Unkovic & Scott, Pittsburgh, for appellant at No. 824, and appellee at No. 811.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Hoffman, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Watkins

[ 251 Pa. Super. Page 61]

This is an appeal from the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, sitting in equity and involves the interpretation and application of restrictive covenants in a deed.

Plaintiffs, property owners of certain lots situate in Virginia Manor, Mount Lebanon Township, Allegheny County

[ 251 Pa. Super. Page 62]

Pennsylvania, initiated an action to quiet title against the defendants in order to quiet a certain deed restriction in their chain of title and to reduce building lines applicable to their property. Their complaint was answered and on April 24, 1974 and November 4, 1974 hearings were held before the court sitting in equity. On January 21, 1975 the court handed down its order holding that the building line was reduced from sixty feet to fifty feet and that the restrictive covenant did not forbid the erection of one residence or two residences on plaintiffs' lot. This appeal followed the dismissal of the exceptions filed to said order.

On October 14, 1939, October 1, 1940 and May 6, 1941, Virginia Manor Company conveyed to Carl E. Rieck and Edna Lanz Rieck, his wife, three adjoining lots or strips of land situate in Mount Lebanon Township. The three lots had a combined area of 61,224 square feet and consisted of what are now identified as Block and Lot numbers 100-M-190 and 100-M-186. The composite tract faced on and was located to the west of Division Street (now Manor Place) and was between Osage and Valleyview Roads. The deeds contained the following restrictions which is the matter in controversy:

". . . nor shall any building except one to be used as a dwelling house of the type and design to accommodate one family only with garage to be erected on said lot; said dwelling house shall cost not less than $12,000.00."

At the time of said conveyance the land in question was rural in nature but it was the intention of Virginia Manor Company that the land situate at and to the west of Division Street (Manor Place) was to be developed into larger tracts. In 1941 Carl E. Rieck and Edna Lanz Rieck erected a mansion type dwelling on what is now identified as Block and Lot numbers 100-M-190. A swimming pool was later added and was constructed on Block and Lot No. 100-M-186.

Subsequent to these conveyances, two single lots near the Rieck property were sold subject to ...


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