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CONDEMNATION BY COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/14/81)

decided: July 14, 1981.

IN RE CONDEMNATION BY THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION OF RIGHT-OF-WAY, FOR LEGISLATIVE ROUTE 1080, SECTION A05, R/W, ALSO KNOWN AS LEGISLATIVE ROUTE 1018, SPUR F-A05, A LIMITED ACCESS HIGHWAY IN CHESTER TOWNSHIP AND THE CITY OF CHESTER. TOWNSHIP OF CHESTER, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, APPELLEE



No. 469 JANUARY TERM, 1978, Appeal from the Opinion and Order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, No. 1134 C.D. 1977 reversing the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County at No. 7973 of 1973.

COUNSEL

Peter J. Nolan, Media, for appellant.

Martin Burman, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Roberts, J., filed a concurring opinion. Nix, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

Author: Flaherty

[ 495 Pa. Page 370]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This is an appeal, upon grant of allocatur, from an Order of the Commonwealth Court*fn1 reversing an Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County which had affirmed an award of a Board of Viewers in the instant Eminent Domain proceeding.

[ 495 Pa. Page 371]

On July 31, 1973, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation (hereinafter Commonwealth) filed a Declaration of Taking with respect to a portion of a public housing complex located in, and owned by, the Township of Chester (hereinafter Township). By virtue of the condemnation, necessary for construction of a bridge access roadway, the Commonwealth acquired 32 units in the Township's 150 unit low-income housing facility. A hearing to establish the amount of compensation due the Township was held before a Board of Viewers: witnesses for the Commonwealth appraised damages at $137,700.00, the fair market value of the property taken; witnesses for the Township appraised damages at $1,336,120.00, the cost of constructing a new building to replace the condemned structure. The latter damage amount, termed the "substitute facilities" measure, was awarded by the Board of Viewers.

The 1964 Eminent Domain Code of Pennsylvania provides:*fn2

ยง 1-602. Measure of damages

(a) Just compensation shall consist of the difference between the fair market value of the condemnee's entire property interest immediately before the condemnation and as unaffected thereby and the fair market value of his property interest remaining immediately after such condemnation and as affected thereby, and such other damages as are provided in this code.

The Code specifies that, in application of the foregoing fair market value standard, cognizance may be taken of several appraisal methods, including:*fn3 (1) reference to sale prices of comparable properties, (2) capitalization of rental values, and (3) land value plus improvement replacement cost less depreciation. Clearly, the substitute facilities standard applied by the Board of Viewers, which allowed the ...


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