Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in case of In Re: Change of Boundaries and/or Election Districts of the Five (5) Wards in the Township of Upper Chichester, Misc. Docket No. A-34.
Hans Edward Solum, Jr., for appellant.
Peter J. Nolan, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 122]
Edgar Seltzer has petitioned this court for review of the April 23, 1979 order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, dismissing his petition to contest the Township of Upper Chichester's (township) Ordinance No. 382, which established a reapportionment of the township's election districts.*fn1
During the summer of 1978 the township had begun ward reapportionment proceedings under Section 3 of the Municipal Reapportionment Act (Act), Act of December 13, 1974, P.L. 947, 53 P.S. § 11603. On July 13, 1978, the township had passed a resolution authorizing the preparation of a reapportionment plan to be completed in time for the May 1979 primary election. However, on August 10, 1978, by way of petition to the court of common pleas, township residents began independent reapportionment proceedings seeking court appointment of a commission to reapportion the wards under Section 4 of the Act, 53 P.S. § 11604, but, in October, on motion by the township, the lower court suspended the appointment of that commission, thereby allowing the township's own reapportionment activities to proceed.
[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 123]
On February 5, 1979, the township advertised its intention to adopt its own reapportionment, under Ordinance No. 382, which was enacted at the conclusion of a township hearing held on February 8, 1979. The ordinance adoption was advertised on February 16, 1979.
On March 6, 1979, Seltzer filed his nominating petitions for first ward township commissioner. However, under Ordinance No. 382, Seltzer had become a resident of the second ward, which had no vacant commissioner position.
On March 8, 1979, the township petitioned the court of common pleas for approval of the election districts created by the reapportionment ordinance. Pursuant to published notice on March 13, the court, on March 19, 1979, held a hearing and approved the establishment of five election districts based on the ward realignments effectuated by Ordinance No. 382.
On April 3, 1979, Seltzer filed his petition to contest the reapportionment ordinance on substantive grounds, and to seek a remand for modification of the reapportionment. On April 23, 1979, after hearing, the court dismissed Seltzer's petition, from which Seltzer has taken this appeal.*fn2
Seltzer challenges the substance of the reapportionment ordinance on several grounds, alleging that: (1) the ...