Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in case of City of Chester v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, No. 9309 of 1974.
Edward D. Werblun, Assistant Attorney General, with him William P. Culp, Special Assistant Attorney General, Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General-Chief Counsel, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellant.
Peter J. Nolan, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Blatt, DiSalle and Craig. Judges Rogers and MacPhail did not participate. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
[ 41 Pa. Commw. Page 423]
In this eminent domain proceeding, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation (PennDOT) appeals a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County confirming findings of fact and conclusions of law of a court appointed jury of view (Viewers).
A declaration of taking was filed by PennDOT in 1974 condemning 4.5 acres of 50-acre Crozer Park, a municipally owned park, located in the City of Chester, for the purpose of erecting access ramps to the Commodore Barry Bridge. The routine matter became complicated when PennDOT demolished a state built bridge located in the park in connection with the erection of the access ramps. This bridge was not included in the 1974 declaration of taking nor was a separate declaration of taking ever filed.
The City Engineer for the City of Chester testified to the before and after value of Crozer Park as a result
[ 41 Pa. Commw. Page 424]
of the condemnation and indicated that damages were $939,000.00. This figure was adopted by the Viewers who specifically indicated that one of the elements of damage considered was the cost of replacement of the bridge. The Viewers heard testimony that the cost of replacement, updated from February, 1970 to September, 1975 was $874,361.52. In addition to the award of damages, the Viewers made the following specific findings:
1. The evidence produced at the hearing indicated that there was unity of use between the Finland Drive-Concord Avenue section of Crozer Park and the larger section of the Park.
2. From the evidence presented, it is determined that the bridge over I-95 was not closed on the date of the condemnation, August 16, 1974, and the testimony also indicated that the public used the bridge until it was demolished by the Condemnor.
3. The Condemnor's plans, on which the taking is based, do not show the demolition or elimination of the bridge over I-95, and therefore the cost of the replacement of the bridge was an ...