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NANCY T. MCFARLAND ET AL. v. A. RUSSELL PARKHOUSE ET AL. (10/15/84)

decided: October 15, 1984.

NANCY T. MCFARLAND ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
A. RUSSELL PARKHOUSE ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of Nancy T. McFarland, Carl A. Buchenauer, Edmund J. Maloney, Mary S. Ralston and Richard T. Brown, Individually and as Supervisors of Lower Providence Township v. A. Russell Parkhouse, Rita C. Banning and Paul B. Bartle, Individually and as Commissioners of Montgomery County, No. 81-15454.

COUNSEL

Richard C. Sheehan, for appellants.

Roger B. Reynolds, Jr., with him, Roger B. Reynolds, for appellees.

Judges Williams, Jr., Craig and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. Judge Hess's sound decision affirmed.

Author: Craig

[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 468]

The Board of Supervisors of Lower Providence Township (township) appeal an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County which dismissed an equity action to enjoin Montgomery County Commissioners, appellees here, from erecting a new prison complex on county-owned land in the township. Although we have been asked to address a number of issues, we need only resolve the question of whether as a matter of law the Second Class County Code*fn1 permits

[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 469]

    the commissioners to construct a prison on county-owned property within the county but not at the county seat. We conclude that it does.

The present prison, located at the county seat of Norristown, is over 130 years old, overcrowded and in need of replacement. In September, 1980, the commissioners created a site selection committee to recommend alternatives to the present outmoded structure.

In October, 1980, the number of sites under consideration was reduced to two: a "downtown site" in Norristown and a "farm site" away from the county seat on land acquired by the county over a number of years and currently used for a prison work farm, housing approximately thirty-five work-release inmates, and for other county purposes.

Although the majority of the site selection committee members favored the "downtown site," the committee made no final recommendation regarding site selection.

At a press conference held by the commissioners to announce a public hearing to be conducted in Lower Providence Township, the individual commissioners responded to reporters' questions. The press gave the impression that the commissioners ...


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