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LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP v. FIESELER NEON SIGNS. EXXON CORPORATION (09/13/78)

decided: September 13, 1978.

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP
v.
FIESELER NEON SIGNS. EXXON CORPORATION, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County in case of Lower Paxton Township v. Fieseler Neon Signs, No. 1653 September Term, 1976.

COUNSEL

Robert C. Spitzer, with him Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, for appellant.

Bernadette Barattini, with her Wix, Wenger & Weidner, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Blatt and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge DiSalle.

Author: Disalle

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 507]

Exxon Corporation (Exxon) filed this appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County dated April 15, 1977. The order denied Exxon's motion to quash the appeal of the Board of Supervisors of Lower Paxton Township (Township) from the determination by the Township's Zoning Hearing Board (Board) that Exxon's contractor, Fieseler Neon Signs (Fieseler), was entitled to a variance to place a high rise sign 98 feet above an Exxon gas station.

On September 13, 1976, Fieseler applied to the Township for a building permit to construct a sign on property owned by Exxon near Interstate I-81. Since construction of the sign to a height of 98 feet required a variance under the Township Zoning Ordinance, the zoning officer denied the building permit.

On October 14, 1976, a hearing was held before the Board on Fieseler's application for a variance. Except for the Township zoning officer, who testified that he denied Fieseler's application for a building permit because of the Zoning Ordinance requirements, the Township did not appear nor participate in the hearing. The Board granted the variance and the Township appealed the decision to the Court of Common

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 508]

Pleas of Dauphin County. Exxon then intervened in the lower court action and filed a motion to quash the Township's appeal. The lower court denied the motion to quash and Exxon appealed the denial to this Court.

Although neither party has challenged the jurisdiction of this Court over the matter presently before us, the propriety of the instant appeal must be seriously questioned. We raise this issue sua sponte since the Court cannot assume appellate jurisdiction solely by virtue of the consent or agreement of the parties. Western Pennsylvania Water Co. v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 471 Pa. 347, 370 A.2d 337 (1977); Stadler v. Mt. Oliver Borough, 373 Pa. 316, 95 A.2d 776 (1953).

Our Supreme Court in T.C.R. Realty, Inc. v. Cox, 472 Pa. 331, 372 A.2d 721 (1977), stated:

It is fundamental law in this Commonwealth that an appeal will lie only from final orders, unless otherwise expressly permitted by statute. Caplan v. Keystone Weaving Mill, 431 Pa. 407, 246 A.2d 384 (1968); Stadler v. Mt. Oliver Borough, supra. . . . In ascertaining what is a 'final order,' we have looked beyond the technical effect of the adjudication to its practical ramifications. Bell v. Consumer Discount Company, 465 Pa. 225, 348 A.2d 734 (1975). We have variously defined a final order as one which ends the litigation, or alternatively disposes of the entire case. Piltzer v. Independence Savings and Loan Association, 456 Pa. 402, 404, 319 A.2d 677, 678 (1974); James Banda, Inc. v. Virginia Manor Apartments, Inc., 451 ...


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