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TAKING BY EMINENT DOMAIN A PORTION PROPERTY AND THROUGH CERTAIN PROPERTY OWNED BY BETHANY CONGREGATION PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH BRIDGEVILLE LOCATED BOROUGH BRIDGEVILLE (10/08/85)

decided: October 8, 1985.

IN RE: THE TAKING BY EMINENT DOMAIN OF A PORTION OF PROPERTY IN AND THROUGH CERTAIN PROPERTY OWNED BY THE BETHANY CONGREGATION OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF BRIDGEVILLE LOCATED IN THE BOROUGH OF BRIDGEVILLE, ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA. THE BETHANY CONGREGATION OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF BRIDGEVILLE, APPELLANT


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of In Re: The taking by Eminent Domain of a portion of property in and through certain property owned by the Bethany Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Bridgeville located in the Borough of Bridgeville, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, No. GD 84-3852.

COUNSEL

Wiley A. Bucey, Jr., Bucey, McFerran & Junker, for appellant.

Richard A. Ferris, Ferris, DiPaolo & Russo, for appellee, Borough of Bridgeville.

Judges MacPhail and Colins, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt

Author: Blatt

[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 201]

The Bethany Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Bridgeville (Church) appeals from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County dismissing the Church's preliminary objections to the declaration of taking filed by the Borough of Bridgeville (Borough). The Borough condemned

[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 202]

    a strip of land owned by the Church for the purpose of widening Washington Avenue within the Borough.

The Church's preliminary objections are seven in number and were considered by the common pleas court (trial court) in two separate stages. At the initial stage of the trial court proceedings, Judge Silvestri analyzed the first preliminary objection concerning the power of the Borough to condemn property for the purpose of widening a street which also is a state highway, Legislative Route 108. Judge Silvestri deferred his final order on the first preliminary objection until he received and considered the depositions which he had ordered in regard to the remaining preliminary objections. He then issued the final order from which this appeal is taken, dismissing all seven of the preliminary objections.

The sole question raised by the Church before us is whether or not the trial court correctly interpreted the relevant statutes in dismissing the first preliminary objection.*fn1 Of course, in an appeal from the dismissal of preliminary objections to a declaration of taking, our scope of review is limited to determining whether or not the trial court abused its discretion or committed an error of law in reaching its conclusions; we do not determine whether or not we would have reached the same conclusions, but rather whether or not the record contains sufficient competent evidence to support the trial court's conclusions.

[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 203]

Riehl v. Millcreek Township Sewer Authority, 26 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 70, 362 A.2d 478 (1976).

Our review of the briefs of the parties, the record and the opinion*fn2 of the trial court convinces us that the interpretation and holding of that court correctly disposed of this issue. We will, therefore, affirm that court's order dated August 14, 1984, on the basis of the thorough and well-reasoned opinion authored by ...


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