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APPEAL FEDERATED DEPARTMENT STORES (11/15/83)

decided: November 15, 1983.

IN RE: APPEAL OF FEDERATED DEPARTMENT STORES, INC. FROM THE ACTION OF THE BOARD OF PROPERTY ASSESSMENT, APPEALS AND REVIEW OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY ETC. FEDERATED DEPARTMENT STORES, INC., APPELLANT


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of In Re: Appeal of Federated Department Stores from the action of the Board of Property Assessment Appeals and Review of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, on property situate in the Borough of Braddock Hills, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, No. GD 82-03317.

COUNSEL

John R. Dingess, with him Judd N. Poffinberger, Jr., Kirkpatrick, Lockhart, Johnson & Hutchison, for appellant.

Allan J. Opsitnick, with him John J. Hickton, Hickton & Opsitnick, and Timothy P. O'Reilly, for appellee.

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

Author: Craig

[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 348]

Petitioner Federated Department Stores, Inc., appeals from an order of the common pleas court quashing its appeal from a tax assessment made by respondent, the Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of Allegheny County.

The questions for review are: (1) whether an appeal from the assessment board must be filed within sixty days as provided by the statute governing assessments in second class counties, 72 P.S. §§ 5452.1-5452.20,*fn1 or within thirty days as provided by the Judicial Code appeal time limitation, 42 Pa. C.S. § 5571;*fn2 and (2) whether the reassessment notice sent by the board adequately notified Federated of its

[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 349]

    mailing date, which begins the running of the appeal period.

The facts, which are not in dispute, are as follows: Allegheny County initially assessed property owned by Federated at $905,000 for 1981. Upon appeal, the board reduced that figure to $700,000, and informed Federated of the change by notice dated December 11, 1981. On February 9, 1982, Federated appealed to the common pleas court. Administrative Judge Papadakos issued an opinion and order*fn3 quashing Federated's appeal because its filing date was beyond the thirty-day appeal period prescribed by 42 Pa. C.S. § 5571(b). This appeal followed.

As conceded by Federated, we have already settled the first question. In Chartiers Valley School District Appeal, 68 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 592, 450 A.2d 230 (1982), aff'd, Pa. , 462 A.2d 673 (1983), and Borough of West Homestead v. Mesta Machine Co., 68 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 595, 449 A.2d 876 (1982), aff'd per curiam, Pa. , 465 A.2d 641 (1983), we specifically held that the thirty-day appeal period set forth in section 5571(b) of the Judicial Code, and not the sixty-day period set forth in section 12 of the Second Class County Assessment Law, governs the period within which to appeal decisions of the board of property assessments. These cases are controlling on the first issue presented by this appeal, and therefore, the common pleas court was correct in concluding that the thirty-day period prescribed by § 5571(b) of the Judicial Code is the applicable time period.

[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 350]

Federated also contends that, even with the thirty-day appeal period, the form it received from the board entitled "Disposition of Appeal from Real Estate Assessment" did not provide adequate notice of the mailing date, which starts the running of the appeal period.*fn4 Two dates appear on the form. At the bottom left-hand corner is a box captioned "Appeal Board Action" with the appeal number and "B.M. DATE 12-1-81" also indicated. Briefs of counsel indicate that this date refers to the day the board ...


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