Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, in the case of In Re: Incorporation of the Borough of Glen Mills, No. A-39 337-1987 Misc. Docket H377 of 1986.
Pamela W. Higgins, with her, Richard A. Sprague, Sprague, Higgins & Creamer, for appellant.
D. Barry Gibbons, Gibbons, Buckley, Smith, Palmer and Proud, P.C., for appellee.
Judges Craig and Colins (p.), and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 605]
The Glen Mills School appeals a decision of Judge Howard F. Reed, Jr., of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, that denied the school's Petition for Incorporation as a borough, out of Thornbury Township, which is here as appellee. We affirm.
As provided in the Borough Code, Act of February 1, (1965) 1656, as amended, § 202, 53 P.S. § 45202, freeholders may apply for the incorporation of their property as a borough. Glen Mills School is the sole freeholder involved in this borough incorporation petition, and the only one who signed it. The Code requires the common pleas court to appoint an advisory committee to make findings of fact and conclusions regarding the desirability of incorporation. The Glen Mills advisory committee held three hearings, made findings of fact, and ultimately recommended that the court of common pleas should deny the petition.
Glen Mills operates as a school for the education and rehabilitation of court-committed boys. The school is a non-profit corporation, governed by a board of managers, which owns the 779 acres which the school seeks to have designated as a borough. The school provides for its own
[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 606]
drinking water and trash removal, and also has an on-site sewage disposal system. Although Glen Mills maintains an informal security force, the school must rely on the Pennsylvania State Police and volunteer fire companies for protection. Additionally, aside from the state roads which pass through Glen Mills' property, the school maintains its own roads, and provides for snow removal in winter.
Glen Mills proposes that the school's employees and their families, who live in school-owned dwellings, will be the borough's citizens. The school suggests that, once incorporated, the borough can operate, and provide services that the school presently does not make available, through the one-percent wage tax the school's employees now pay to the township. That tax, however, generates only about $25,000 a year.
The school argues that the trial court improperly considered factors not listed in the Borough Code's provisions relating to applications for incorporation. Subsections 202(c) and (d) of the Code state:
(c) Such committee shall . . . advise the court in relation to the establishment of the proposed borough. In particular, the committee shall render expert advice and findings of fact relating to the desirability of such an ...