In re: Condemnation by the Municipality of Penn Hills (D’Andrea)
870 A.2d 400 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005)

Case Details:

By preliminary injunction, Landowner was temporarily prohibited from developing property that straddled a boundary line between two municipalities. Because it was unknown where the municipal boundary actually lay within Landowner’s property, and the zoning classifications on each side of the disputed municipal boundary were incongruent (residential on one side, commercial on the other), Landowner was not allowed to proceed with building a commercial office building for approximately fourteen months while a boundary dispute commission conclusively established the location of the municipal boundary. As a result of this delay, Landowner brought suit against the Township that had requested the injunction, alleging that the injunction had resulted in a temporary taking of the property. The court of common pleas dismissed Landowner’s claim. Landowner then appealed to the Commonwealth Court.

After comprehensively reviewing and applying well known Pennsylvania Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court takings decisions, the Commonwealth Court found that Landowner had failed to meet the “heavy burden” associated with proving a taking under the precedent. The Commonwealth Court held that “where . . . there is a legitimate boundary dispute involving property with different zoning classifications, a judicial order entering a preliminary injunction to preserve the status quo is not a compensable taking.”

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