January 2, 2008
Private Road Act Litigation
Pennsylvania has a Private Road Act that allows owners of landlocked parcels to condemn a private road for access to a nearby public road. The Pennsylvania courts have interpreted the Private Road Act as requiring a degree of necessity that is short of strict necessity but that still imposes a fairly high hurdle for the petitioner. In re Packard, 926 A.2d 557 (Comm. Ct. 2007) is an interesting example. Petitioners had access to their property through a run-down private road. They argued that use of this road was impractical; the court rejected their claim because they had not met their burden to prove necessity. The case is discussed in this story from the Harrisburg Patriot News, though the story doesn't really capture the role of necessity in the court's analysis.
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