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PROPERTY OWNERS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/17/89)

decided: January 17, 1989.

PROPERTY OWNERS, RESIDENTS, AND/OR TAXPAYERS OF THE PLEASANT VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT, PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS AND PLEASANT VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Deputy Secretary, Department of Community Affairs, in the case of In Re: Pleasant Valley School District / Michael Vianello, Marilyn C. Holson, Paul Weber, John G. Klement, James Newton, Richard Knedt, Herb Zorn and Mary Ann Zorn v. Pleasant Valley School District, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, LGUDA Docket No. 24, dated August 2, 1985.

COUNSEL

Michael Vianello, for petitioners.

Daniel M. Corveleyn, Mervine, Brown, Newman, Williams & Mishkin, P.C., with him, Jens H. Damgaard and Donna M. J. Clark, Rhoads & Sinon, for respondents.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Colins, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Blatt. Judge MacPhail did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Blatt

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 614]

Property owners, residents, and/or taxpayers of the Pleasant Valley School District (petitioners)*fn1 appeal from the August 2, 1985 order of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA)*fn2 dismissing their complaint in this matter. We will affirm.

The petitioners' complaint challenged the application made by the Pleasant Valley School District (respondent or School District) in June of 1985 for approval of the issuance of general obligation bonds in the aggregate principal amount of $7,145,000. The purposes of the bonds are to refund the 1984 series of general obligation bonds, to fund a capital project consisting of the construction of alterations, additions and improvements to various school buildings, and to pay the costs and expenses of the issuance of the bonds. The petitioners challenged the proceedings conducted by the respondent in connection with the bond proposal on several grounds, which basically narrow down to challenges of failure to follow advertising requirements of Section 103

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 615]

    of the Local Government Unit Debt Act (Debt Act),*fn3 failure to make a copy of the proposed text of the bond resolution available for public review and violation of the "Open Meeting Law".*fn4

The School District responded by filing an answer and a petition to dismiss pursuant to 1 Pa. Code ยง 35.54.*fn5 Attached to the School District's petition to dismiss were affidavits to disprove the petitioners' allegations. It also filed a motion for expedited argument in connection with the petition to dismiss, which was granted.

A hearing was held on the petition to dismiss before a hearing examiner for the DCA, which was not attended by the petitioners. The DCA determined that the legal requirements of Section 103 of the Debt Act had been complied with and that it lacked jurisdiction to determine whether any violation of the "Open Meeting Law" had occurred. As a result, it granted the respondent's petition to dismiss. The petitioners then appealed to this Court.

The first issue raised by the petitioners is whether an agency may dismiss a ...


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