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PAXTOWNE v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION AND PENNSYLVANIA POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY (03/02/79)

decided: March 2, 1979.

PAXTOWNE, A LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION AND PENNSYLVANIA POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of In the Matter of the Application of Pennsylvania Power & Light Company, Application Docket No. 98343, 1973.

COUNSEL

Bruce E. Cooper, for petitioner.

Louise A. Russell, Assistant Counsel, with her Shirley Rae Don, Deputy Chief Counsel, and George M. Kashi, Chief Counsel, for respondent, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Gennaro D. Caliendo, for respondent, Pennsylvania Power & Light Company.

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

Author: Wilkinson

[ 40 Pa. Commw. Page 647]

On December 3, 1973, respondent Pennsylvania Power and Light Company (hereinafter PP&L) applied to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (Commission) for a certificate of public convenience to exercise the right of eminent domain in acquiring a 100-foot right-of-way across the property of petitioner, Paxtowne, a limited partnership, to construct and maintain an electric transmission line. Hearings were held on January 15 and March 1, 1974, and again on October 26 and 27, 1977, and December 1, 1977, following an order of the Commission for additional hearings. Thereafter, on August 2, 1978, the Commission issued a final order granting the certificate. We affirm the order.

PP&L proposes to construct a new 3.8 mile line on double circuit wooden poles connecting its existing Capital Park line with a proposed Linglestown substation. The line would cross 3,170 feet of petitioner's property, a 149-acre tract of land in Lower Paxton Township where petitioner proposes to build a Planned Residential Development. Petitioner does not contest the need for the new line, but only the route selection of PP&L across petitioner's property.

PP&L evidence on this issue may be summarized as follows: that the proposed route was selected over

[ 40 Pa. Commw. Page 648]

    alternative routes because the topography of petitioner's property was superior with regard to land use, environmental and engineering considerations; and that the selection of other routes would be more costly in requiring rights-of-way from additional property owners. Paxtowne adduced testimony of a partner who testified that in his opinion the existence of a high tension line through its planned development would "eliminate quite a few single family detached lots" and would also be an inhibiting factor to proposed purchasers of housing in the developments; a consulting engineer also testified as to the superiority of Paxtowne's proposed alternate route which would cross farmland and property used for a rifle range.

Petitioner first contends the Commission has not made sufficient findings of fact in order for proper judicial review of the Commission's conclusion.*fn1 Rather, petitioner contends the Commission's finding relative to route selection is a mere conclusion in that it fails to itemize factors upon which the Commission based its finding that "[n]o alternative route has been shown to be significantly superior to the route selected by applicant" and that "applicant's choice of route ...


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