Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in the case of Ridley Arms, Inc. and Leonard Klorfine, t/a Ridley Brook Associates v. Township of Ridley, No. 79-4268.
Peter J. Rohana, Jr., for appellant/appellee, Township of Ridley.
Robert B. Surrick, Surrick and Gollatz, for appellees/appellants, Ridley Arms, Inc. and Leonard Klorfine, t/a Ridley Brook Associates.
Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 144]
These are the cross-appeals of the owners of an apartment complex called the Ridley Brook Apartments (Ridley Brook) and of Ridley Township from a final decree in equity of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County. Ridley Brook appeals because the common pleas court rejected its challenge to the validity of the Ridley Township solid waste removal ordinance and refused to order a refund of waste removal fees paid the township in the amount of $58,156.67. Ridley Township appeals because the court ordered it to pay Ridley Brook $22,929.00 as reimbursement for sums Ridley Brook had paid a private hauler to remove its trash.
Ridley Brook owns a 241-unit apartment complex situated in Ridley Township. The complex has 226
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 145]
parking spaces. When Ridley Brook purchased the property in 1977, the township waste removal ordinance was already in effect and provided:
All ashes and rubbish accumulated in any single-family or two-family house, apartment or dwelling in the Township of Ridley shall be collected, conveyed and disposed of by the township, and the cost of such service shall be paid for as provided in the schedule of fees set forth in § 61-6 hereof, by the person owning the building or buildings from whence the ashes and rubbish have been accumulated.
All garbage accumulated in any single-family or two-family house, apartment or dwelling in the Township of Ridley shall be collected, conveyed and disposed of by the township.
The ordinance also exempts commercial and industrial enterprises such as shopping centers, supermarkets, restaurants and manufacturing plants from the obligation to take the township service because the refuse generated by these concerns would unduly burden the township's sanitation facilities.
The township trash collection fee, which is included on the township's local property tax bill, is determined annually by dividing the township Sanitation Department's budget by the number of dwelling units and nonexempt commercial ...