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VICTOR ZENI v. TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS AND SPRINGHILL TOWNSHIP (10/29/82)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: October 29, 1982.

VICTOR ZENI, APPELLANT
v.
TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS AND SPRINGHILL TOWNSHIP, APPELLEES

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Greene County in the case of In Re: Township Road 326, Victor Zeni v. Springhill Township Supervisors, No. 1, Road Docket, 1980.

COUNSEL

Joseph N. Bifano, for appellant.

R. Wallace Maxwell, Maxwell and Davis, for appellees.

Judges Rogers, Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 488]

In March 1980, four landowners filed a petition with the Springhill Township Board of Supervisors

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 489]

(supervisors) under the Second Class Township Code,*fn1 to vacate a portion of Road No. 326, commonly known as Henry Hollow Road. After the supervisors, apparently without a hearing, refused the request for vacation, Victor Zeni, an owner of property abutting Henry Hollow Road, petitioned the Court of Common Pleas of Greene County to appoint a board of viewers and conduct a hearing de novo.*fn2 Adopting the board's findings and recommendations not to vacate the road, the court below dismissed Mr. Zeni's petition. We affirm.*fn3

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 490]

The appellant contends that the court of common pleas erred as a matter of law by adopting the board's conclusion that he "failed, by the weight of the evidence, to prove that . . . [Henry Hollow Road] . . . had become 'useless,' or 'inconvenient,' or 'burdensome,' in the disjunctive."*fn4 Specifically, Mr. Zeni has drawn our attention to testimony in the record, including his own, to support his claim that Henry Hollow Road has seen little use, has not been regularly maintained by the township,*fn5 has suffered the accumulation

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 491]

    of trash and debris along its route, is impassable during some seasons of the year, is not a regular bus or mail route, and, in his own opinion, would cost the township too much money to repair.

The concepts of "useless," "inconvenient," or "burdensome" are not cast in stone; they must necessarily draw their meaning from the facts of a particular case. See, e.g., Likar Appeal, 157 Pa. Superior Ct. 572, 43 A.2d 388 (1945) (road vacated because, inter alia, it was impassable during certain seasons, had insufficient clearance for overhead railroad crossing, had bridge condemned for certain load limits, had dangerous railroad crossing).

Here, there was ample evidence for the court of common pleas to conclude that Henry Hollow Road was neither useless, inconvenient, nor burdensome to the township. Witnesses testified that they use the road for a variety of purposes: as a short-cut, as a route for deer-hunting, as the only means of access to a local garden, and as the only road for checking and maintaining leased oil wells. Even the appellant testified that he uses the road as a means of access to his property.

Accordingly, we affirm.

Order

Now, October 29, 1982, the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Greene County is hereby affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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