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GREENWOOD TOWNSHIP v. KEFO (06/26/80)

decided: June 26, 1980.

GREENWOOD TOWNSHIP, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, APPELLANT
v.
KEFO, INC., A PENNSYLVANIA CORPORATION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Crawford County in case of KEFO, Inc., a Pennsylvania Corporation v. Greenwood Township, a municipal corporation, No. 160 February Term, 1978.

COUNSEL

E. Max Weiss, Culbertson, Weiss, Schetroma & Schug, for appellant.

Theodore H. Watts, Pepicelli and Pepicelli, P.C., for appellee.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 368]

Greenwood Township (township) appeals from the May 29, 1979 order of the Court of Common Pleas of Crawford County in the declaratory judgment action of appellee KEFO, Inc. (KEFO), which order declared Greenwood Township Ordinance No. 77-3 invalid

[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 369]

    as unreasonable, unduly repressive and exclusionary.

In March, 1977, KEFO had made public its intention to develop a sanitary landfill in the township. Soon thereafter the township supervisors began steps toward enactment of an ordinance regulating solid waste processing and disposal in the township; after several public meetings attended by KEFO and township representatives, the supervisors gave public notice of intent to consider adoption of the ordinance. On June 28, 1977, the supervisors enacted the ordinance, making it unlawful to operate a solid waste processing or disposal site without a township permit, obtainable only by meeting a number of stated requirements, and also establishing administrative and enforcement procedures and penalties for violation.

KEFO filed its petition for declaratory judgment in January, 1978, pursuant to the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act (Act) and its supplements (supplemental Act),*fn1 challenging the validity of the ordinance on numerous grounds and seeking a declaration that the ordinance is invalid.

Initially before us is KEFO's motion to quash the township's appeal, based upon the township's failure to file exceptions to the trial court's order within 10 days thereof, as would be appropriate under Pa. R.C.P. No. 1518 relating to equity practice, which is applicable because Section 6 of the supplemental Act, formerly 12 P.S. ยง 852, provides that, in declaratory judgment actions without a jury trial, "all issues of facts, as well as those of law, may be determined and found by the Court, subject to exceptions and appeal, as in equity cases."

[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 370]

The lower court order here was not in decree nisi form referable to exceptions, as is appropriate in equity. It stated simply:

AND NOW, May 29, 1979, Greenwood Township Ordinance No. 77 [sic] is declared invalid.

The Supreme Court has addressed a similar situation. In Commonwealth v. Derry Township, 466 Pa. 31, 351 A.2d 606 (1976), that court noted that, as here, the "order contains no findings of fact, no conclusions of law, nor any language which would indicate that the order is a decree nisi, or that the parties were required to file exceptions ...


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