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GARY D. REIHART v. TOWNSHIP CARROLL (12/21/79)

decided: December 21, 1979.

GARY D. REIHART, INC., APPELLANT,
v.
THE TOWNSHIP OF CARROLL, YORK COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA AND THE CARROLL TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION



COUNSEL

Gordon A. Roe, York, for appellant.

Russell F. Griest, Laurence T. Himes, Jr., York, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the decision of this case. Larsen, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

Author: Roberts

[ 487 Pa. Page 463]

OPINION OF THE COURT

On July 11, 1974 appellant Gary D. Reihart, Inc. submitted a revised plan for subdividing its 177 acre tract of land to the Carroll Township Planning Commission. The Commission, pursuant to the powers granted by the Legislature in the Municipalities Planning Code, Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 805, §§ 101 et seq., 53 P.S. §§ 10101 et seq., tentatively approved the plan, but withheld final approval pending appellant's compliance with thirteen conditions. Most pertinent to this litigation was the condition that appellant dedicate portions of its tract along existing roads to Carroll Township so that the Township could increase the width of these roads if necessary. Appellant had the option of fulfilling the condition, or challenging it by procedures specified in the Municipalities Planning Code. Appellant chose not to challenge the condition, and instead dedicated the land to the Township. The Planning Commission then approved appellant's subdivision plan.

Appellant thereafter sought compensation for the land it had dedicated to the Township by filing a petition for appointment of a board of viewers. The petition averred that a de facto taking had occurred which was compensable pursuant to § 502(e) of the Eminent Domain Code. Act of June 22, 1964, Special Sess., P.L. 84, as amended, 26 P.S.

[ 487 Pa. Page 464]

§ 1-502(e) (Supp.1979). The court of common pleas disagreed, and granted the Township's motion for summary judgment:

"[A]n eminent domain proceeding is not available to [Reihart, Inc.]. . . . If the conditions which the Township sought to attack were unreasonable, as [Reihart, Inc.] . . . contends, we believe that its proper course of action was to directly attack the refusal of the Township authorities to approve the plan without such conditions, not to accept the same and then seek damages on the theory of a take."

Reihart, Inc. v. Township of Carroll, 91 York 77, 78 (1977) (Blakey, J.). The Commonwealth Court affirmed per curiam without opinion, and this Court granted allocatur.*fn1

Appellant now contends that it is entitled to damages under the Eminent Domain Code. We disagree. In our view, this action for damages is not cognizable under the Eminent Domain Code. The Legislature has expressly stated that landowners and other aggrieved persons may seek relief for improper subdivision action exclusively under the Municipalities Planning Code. Accordingly, we affirm the order of the Commonwealth Court.

Article X of the Municipalities Planning Code, enacted in 1972, sets forth the various modes for challenging municipal decisions. See 53 P.S. §§ 11001-11011. Section 11001 directs that an appeal from a municipality's decision concerning subdivision, or any other subject matter covered by the Municipalities Planning Code, lies only as provided in the Municipalities Planning Code:*fn2

[ 487 Pa. Page 465]

"The proceedings set forth in this article shall constitute the exclusive mode for securing review of any ordinance, decision, determination or order of the governing body of a municipality, its agencies or officers adopted or issued pursuant to this act."

A landowner, such as appellant, who desires relief from a claimed invalid application of a subdivision ordinance, must raise that challenge in accordance with the provisions of section ...


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