Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Lebanon County, No. 86-00225.
John D. Enck, Lebanon, for appellant.
Christopher J. Coyle, Lebanon, for appellees.
Wieand, Beck and Cercone, JJ.
[ 364 Pa. Super. Page 244]
In this equitable action to enforce rights of way over undedicated lanes adjoining a tract of farmland, the trial court entered judgment on the pleadings in favor of the defendants. Because the record discloses the existence of private easements, as asserted by the plaintiff-appellant, we reverse.
R. Hart Beaver and Joan Beaver, husband and wife, were the owners of a tract of land in the Borough of Cornwall, Lebanon County, which contained approximately 145 acres. Irwin R. Auman, the appellant herein, owned an adjoining tract of land on which was located a residence and barn. Auman leased the Beaver tract on a year-to-year basis and farmed the same. The Beaver tract was divided by two lanes. The one, known as Tice Lane, lay in a north-south direction. The other, which the trial court referred to as South Lane, ran in an east-west direction. Auman used both lanes in farming the land.
By agreement dated May 5, 1975, Auman agreed to buy and the Beavers agreed to sell a parcel of 23 acres from the larger tract. The agreement provided that Auman should have a right of way over Tice Lane as follows:
[ 364 Pa. Super. Page 245]
Until such time as Grantors dedicate the unimproved lane (to the East) to the Borough of Conrwall [sic] as a public road and same is accepted, Grantor hereby grants to Grantee, their heirs and assigns a right-to-way over said lane and Grantors property which borders said lane on the East for ingress and egress to Grantees' present farm proparty [sic].
By deed dated October 6, 1975, the Beavers conveyed to Auman a tract of farmland which, by actual survey, contained 21.71 acres. The deed did not contain an express grant of an easement over Tice Lane. It also did not contain an express easement over South Lane. However, the tract carved from the larger Beaver lands was described in the deed as being bounded on the south by a fifty feet wide lane, which provided access to Highway Route 72, and on the east by Tice Lane, which provided access to Township Road T-428. Following this conveyance, Auman continued to farm the balance of the Beaver tract. By deed dated March 1, 1984, the remaining Beaver tract, including the beds of Tice Lane and South Lane, was conveyed to Roger E. Grimes, Jr. and Valerie S. Grimes, husband and wife, who, on August 14, 1985, recorded a proposed subdivision plan for the tract. Auman continued to farm the Beaver land until December 31, 1985.
Thereafter, Auman commenced an action in equity to prevent the proposed development from eliminating Tice Lane and South Lane and preventing his use thereof. He alleged in his complaint that he had acquired easements by implication over the two lanes. The Grimes filed an answer containing averments that easements in favor of Auman had not been intended and alleging further that any easement which might otherwise have arisen by implication was extinguished by Auman's continuing lease of the entire Beaver tract. Both parties filed motions for judgment on the pleadings. The trial court entered judgment on the pleadings ...