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WILKINS TOWNSHIP ET AL. v. ORGAN GRINDER PIZZA PARLOR (05/09/83)

decided: May 9, 1983.

WILKINS TOWNSHIP ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
ORGAN GRINDER PIZZA PARLOR, INC., A CORPORATION ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Organ Grinder Pizza Parlor, Inc., a corporation, and Thomas J. Reilly and Barbara Reilly, his wife v. Wilkins township and the Wilkins Township Board of Commissioners, No. SA 368 of 1982.

COUNSEL

John M. Means, markel, Schafer & Means, P.A., for appellants.

Edward P. Zemprelli, for appellees.

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

Author: Rogers

[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 178]

Wilkins Township and its Board of Commissioners here appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County reversing the decision of the Board to deny the application of Organ Grinder Pizza Parlor, Inc., and others, appellees herein, by which application the appellees sought approval to construct a means of access from their restaurant facility parking lot to the adjacent Hawthorne Drive.

[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 179]

The facts necessary to understand the case are that the appellees' restaurant is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 22 (also known, we are told, as the William Penn Highway) and Hawthorne Drive. Route 22 runs east and west and Hawthorne Drive is a local residential street originating at its intersection with Route 22 and running north. The restaurant abuts both roads -- Route 22 is immediately adjacent on the south and Hawthorne Drive is immediately adjacent on the west.

Presently, access to the restaurant property from Route 22 is accomplished by means of discontinuances in the curbside barrier at two locations. The appellees represented to the Board that these two points of access were unsatisfactory because eastbound motorists on Route 22 are forbidden, by traffic regulations applicable to that portion of the highway here at issue, from making a left turn onto the restaurant property and because restaurant patrons exiting directly onto Route 22 often encounter difficulties created by the traffic volume and pattern at that location. As a solution, the appellees proposed the elimination of a portion of the curbside barrier separating their property from Hawthorne Drive so that eastbound motorists could turn onto the local road and then enter the restaurant parking lot.

Following a hearing, the Board denied the application in an extensive adjudication incorporating some twenty-seven findings of fact and concluding, inter alia, that Section XIII(A)(1) of the Township's Ordinance 621 prohibits the creation of an accessway to Hawthorne Drive under these circumstances and that traffic safety at the intersection of Hawthorne Drive and Route 22 would be adversely affected by the granting of the appellees' application. As we have indicated, the Honorable Nicholas Papadakos for the trial court reversed the decision of the Board reasoning that

[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 180]

    a landowner's right to ingress and egress from an abutting public highway, in the absence of alternative access, is a protected property right and that

     the facts in this case established that eastbound motorists on Route 22 have no lawful access onto the Appellees' property. This can be accomplished only by a lawful left turn onto Hawthorne Drive and a right turn onto the premises of ...


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