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ROBERT N. HUMPHREYS ET AL. v. JAMES P. CAIN ET AL. (06/12/84)

decided: June 12, 1984.

ROBERT N. HUMPHREYS ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
JAMES P. CAIN ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Robert N. Humphreys, et ux., et al. v. James P. Cain et al., No. GD 83-10801.

COUNSEL

Robert X. Medonis, for appellants.

Edwin L. Klett, with him, Robert L. Byer, Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, for appellees.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Williams, Jr., Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry and Colins. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 177]

This is an appeal by Robert N. Humphreys and others*fn1 (Appellants) from a final decree dismissing

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 178]

    exceptions to a decree nisi entered by the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.

Appellants are taxpayers and landowners in the Municipality of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania (Mt. Lebanon) who wish to preserve the Thomas A. Bird, Jr. Park (Bird Park) in its undeveloped natural state. Bird Park encompasses a total area of approximately forty-two acres, twenty-five acres of which were purchased with funds acquired under the Project 70 Land Acquisition and Borrowing Act*fn2 (Project 70 Act).

On May 9, 1983, the Commissioners of Mt. Lebanon enacted Ordinance 2727 providing for the appropriation of funds for construction of a multi-purpose athletic field in a portion of the park included within the twenty-five acres purchased with Project 70 funds. Appellants filed a complaint in equity on June 29, 1983 raising various procedural objections to the enactment of Ordinance 2727.*fn3 The complaint also alleged that the proposed athletic field would violate the Project 70 Act and Mt. Lebanon was therefore prohibited from developing Bird Park solely for recreational use. The complaint further alleged that, because of its previous actions, Mt. Lebanon should be estopped from disturbing the Park's undeveloped natural state.

Appellants moved for a preliminary injunction and, following a hearing on the matter, the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County entered an order enjoining municipal officials from disturbing the

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 179]

    physical characteristics and natural state of the park. Trial was held on the merits, and on February 28, 1984 the court of common pleas filed an adjudication and entered a decree nisi finding Mt. Lebanon's actions to be lawful, denying the request for a permanent ...


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