Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Perry County in the case of Neal C. Bitting and Margaret M. Bitting, his wife v. Dorothy Beaston; Ida Alice Metz; and Neal J. Smith and Jane Smith, his wife v. Ray Bitting and his wife, and Dean Ernest and his wife, No. 84-78.
Allen E. Hench, for appellants, Neal and Margaret Bitting.
Robert L. O'Brien, for appellants, Ray and Mary Bitting.
Daniel Stern, for appellees, Dorothy Beaston, Neil J. Smith and Jane Smith.
Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry. This decision was reached prior to the resignation of Judge MacPhail.
[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 449]
These appeals are from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Perry County which affirmed a decision of a Board of View opening a private road from the land of appellants, Neal and Margaret Bitting. Neal and Margaret Bitting had petitioned for the opening of a private road from the western portion of their land to a public highway over the land of respondents and appellees, Dorothy Beaston, Neal and Jane Smith and Ida Alice Metz. Part of the road requested would consist of an existing road traversing the properties of Neal and Jane Smith and Ida Alice Metz. The Board of View issued
[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 450]
an order which found a necessity for a road from the western portion of the Bittings' land, but the Board considered an existing lane to be more appropriate and ordered a private road opened along such lane. The existing lane is much longer than the private road petitioned for and passes through the property of Neal Bitting's brother, Ray, and his wife, Mary, and through a small section of the property of Dean Ernest. In the Board's order, Ray and Mary Bitting and Dean Ernest and his wife are joined as additional respondents. The court of common pleas affirmed the Board's order. Neal and Margaret Bitting and Ray and Mary Bitting have appealed to this Court. Their appeals were consolidated.
Neal and Margaret Bitting first argue that the Board went beyond the authority of the applicable statute in laying out a road over land of other than those named as respondents in the petition. The statute authorizing the opening of private road, 36 P.S. § 2731,*fn1 reads in pertinent part:
The several courts of quarter sessions shall, in open court as aforesaid, upon the petition of one or more persons, . . . for a road from their respective lands or leaseholds to a highway or place of necessary public resort, or to any private way leading to a highway, . . . direct a view to be had of the place where such road is requested, and a report thereof to be made, in the same manner as is directed by the said act of thirteenth June, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-six.
The Board of View appointed by the court has broad authority to determine whether ...