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TIMBERLINE RECREATIONAL ENTERPRISES v. HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP AND GETTYSBURG AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT (04/02/84)

decided: April 2, 1984.

TIMBERLINE RECREATIONAL ENTERPRISES, INC. T/D/B/A GRANITE HILL FAMILY CAMPGROUND ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP AND GETTYSBURG AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County in case of Timberline Recreational Enterprises, Inc., t/d/b/a Granite Hill Family Campground; Donald S. Shoemaker and Martha M. Shoemaker, t/d/b/a Gettysburg KOA Campground; and Stanley Wolf, t/d/b/a Gettysburg Campground v. Highland Township and Gettysburg Area School District, No. 81-S-337.

COUNSEL

David E. Lehman, with him Jessie L. Smith, McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for appellants.

Henry O. Heiser, III, Swope, Heiser & McQuaide, for appellees.

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

Author: Craig

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 291]

Timberline Recreational Enterprises, Inc., Donald and Martha Shoemaker, and Stanley Wolf, owners of campgrounds,*fn1 appeal from an order by President Judge Spicer of the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County who declared that section 2(3) of the Local Tax Enabling Act*fn2 does not prohibit Highland Township and Gettysburg Area School District from imposing an admissions tax on campgrounds.

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 292]

In this case of first impression, we must decide if the trial court committed an error of law by holding that section 2(3) poses no bar to the imposition of the township's admissions tax where, as here, the campground owners did not allege that the Commonwealth also imposes a tax on campground admissions. Ryan v. City of Philadelphia, 77 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 283, 465 A.2d 1092 (1983) (scope of review in declaratory relief cases limited to determining if trial court abused its discretion or committed an error of law).

Section 2(3) provides, in pertinent part:

The duly constituted authorities of the following political subdivisions . . . may . . . levy . . . such taxes as they shall determine on persons, transactions, occupations, privileges, subjects and personal property within the limits of such political subdivisions, . . . Such local authorities shall not have authority by virtue of this act:

(3) Except on sales of admission to places of amusement or on sales or other transfers of title or possession of propriety, to levy, assess or collect a tax on the privilege of employing such tangible property as is now or does hereafter become subject to a State tax; and for the purposes of this clause, real property rented for camping purposes shall not be considered a place of amusement.

Effective January 1, 1979, Highland Township and the Gettysburg Area School District passed almost identical legislation "IMPOSING, ASSESSING, LEVYING AND COLLECTION OF A TAX . . . UPON ADMISSIONS TO ANY PLACE OR ...


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