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CONDEMNATION LANDS AND PROPERTY WILLIAM HILL. WILLIAM HILL (08/08/88)

decided: August 8, 1988.

IN RE: CONDEMNATION OF LANDS AND PROPERTY OF WILLIAM HILL. WILLIAM HILL, APPELLANT


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County in the case of In Re: Condemnation of lands and property of William Hill, No. 87-736, dated October 29, 1987.

COUNSEL

Robert D. Sebastian, with him, Harry R. Ruprecht, King, Ruprecht & McQuoid, for appellant.

Frank A. Conte, Frank A. Conte, P.C., for appellee.

Judges Craig, Doyle and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 437]

William Hill (Appellant) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County (trial court) dismissing his preliminary objections to a declaration of taking filed by the Redevelopment Authority of Washington County (RDA). We affirm.

On February 17, 1987, the RDA filed with the trial court a declaration of taking of Appellant's property located in the Borough of Canonsburg, Washington County. Notice of the declaration was sent to Appellant on February 19, 1987 and was received by Appellant on February 20, 1987. On July 17, 1987, Appellant filed preliminary objections to the declaration of taking, asserting that the taking was racially motivated, discriminatory, and not for a public purpose.

RDA filed an answer and new matter to the preliminary objections on August 11, 1987. Neither the answer

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 438]

    nor the new matter raised the issue of the timeliness of Appellant's preliminary objections. On August 17, 1987, the RDA filed a petition for a rule to show cause why the preliminary objections should not be stricken for untimeliness. The RDA alleged that Appellant failed to comply with the thirty (30) day time limitation for filing preliminary objections as required by Section 406 of the Eminent Domain Code (Code).*fn1 The trial court issued the rule to show cause. Although Appellant did not file a written answer to the rule, Appellant did file a brief. By order dated October 29, 1987, the trial court dismissed Appellant's preliminary objections as untimely.

On appeal to this court, Appellant asserts that the RDA waived any objection to technical defects and procedural requirements of time when it filed an answer on the merits of the preliminary objections. Thus, Appellant contends that the trial court erred in dismissing his preliminary objections without granting an evidentiary hearing or time for taking depositions. RDA argues that Appellant's failure to file a written response to the rule to show cause constitutes an admission to all of the facts contained in the petition for the rule to show cause.

In eminent domain cases, our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether the trial court abused its discretion or committed an error of law. Borough of Dickson City v. Malley, ...


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