Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in the case of Grace Building Co., Inc. v. Edwin Parchinski and Harriet Parchinski, No. 190 February Term, 1973.
Alfred O. Breinig, Jr., for appellant.
Richard L. Schuster, for appellees.
Judges Rogers, Williams, Jr. and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.
[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 188]
Grace Building Co., Inc. (Grace) has appealed from a decision by the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County adverse to Grace's action to quiet title to a strip of land. Grace had filed the action to have itself adjudged the owner of the land strip in question, alleging that the strip is part of a parcel of land which Grace had purchased pursuant to the Real Estate Tax Sale Law.*fn1
On September 12, 1966, Grace purchased, at a tax sale conducted by the Tax Claim Bureau of Chester County, a parcel of land located in West Sadsbury Township, Chester County, and officially designated as tax parcel "36-3-57." The tax deed subsequently received by Grace, from the Tax Claim Bureau, recited that the parcel had been exposed to public sale for delinquent taxes assessed against the property, and that the name of the previous owner was "unknown." The tax deed described the parcel as follows: "ALL THAT CERTAIN 29.5 ACRES -- SOUTH SIDE OF T413 * EAST OF T346 36-3-57 LOCATED IN THE TOWNSHIP OF WEST SADSBURY." (Emphasis added.)
[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 189]
The term "T413" in the above deed description refers to a certain east-west township road, which has been identified as "Quarry Road." At the time of the 1966 tax sale, the official tax map of Chester County depicted parcel 36-3-57 as extending northward to the south side of Quarry Road.
In May 1970, Edwin and Harriet Parchinski purchased a lot that abuts the northern boundary of the parcel Grace had bought at tax sale. A disagreement arose between Grace and the Parchinskis as to the physical location of their common boundary. Grace asserted that the northern boundary of its parcel is the center line of Quarry Road, and, thus, that the tax sale included the portion of land along the south side of the road. The Parchinskis, on the other hand, contended that the southern boundary of their lot is south of Quarry Road and, hence, encompasses the strip claimed by Grace. According to the Parchinskis, Quarry Road, in its entire present width, runs through their property.
In February 1973, Grace commenced an action to quiet title, averring that it has title to the contested strip of land by virtue of the 1966 tax sale and the consequent tax deed. Grace's complaint, in its prayer for relief, requested the trial court to declare that Grace has valid title to the strip and the right to possess it. The Parchinskis, in their answer to the complaint, denied that Grace's tax parcel includes the strip in question, and asserted that the strip is part of the lot conveyed to them in 1970.
In June of 1979, the case was tried without a jury before the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County. The sole witness for Grace was its President, Alfred Breinig, Sr. Mr. Breinig testified that the parcel Grace purchased was vacant woodland, and that he had observed no indicia of ...