<p>IN THE COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA Ralph E. Grabowsky, : Appellant : : v. : No. 99 C.D. 2020 : Argued: October 13, 2020 Borough of Whitehall, a : Pennsylvania Municipal Corporation : BEFORE: HONORABLE RENÉE COHN JUBELIRER, Judge HONORABLE ELLEN CEISLER, Judge HONORABLE J. ANDREW CROMPTON, Judge OPINION NOT REPORTED MEMORANDUM OPINION BY JUDGE CROMPTON FILED: November 10, 2020 Ralph E. Grabowsky (Owner) appeals from the order of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas (Trial Court) sustaining the preliminary objections of the Borough of Whitehall (Borough) and dismissing his mandamus complaint. Owner seeks an order directing the Borough to enforce its Stormwater Management Ordinance (SWMO) and Property Maintenance Code (PMC)1 (collectively, Ordinances) based on alleged excessive stormwater discharge to his property from adjacent properties. The Trial Court concluded Owner had an adequate remedy at law against the owners of the adjacent properties (Neighbors). Owner asserts he lacks an adequate legal remedy because he is unable to determine the cause of the excessive stormwater. He also contends the Borough has a general mandate to enforce any ordinances it enacts. The Borough counters that enforcement is within its discretion, such that any amendment of the mandamus complaint would be futile. Upon review, we affirm. 1 See Borough of Whitehall, Pa., Ordinance §75.1 (2018) (adopting International Property Maintenance Code, 2015 edition). I. Background Owner resides in the Borough in a single-family dwelling located at 5103 Cherryvale Drive, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15236 (Property). The Property shares borders with four properties owned by different owners (collectively, Neighboring Properties).2 Reproduced Record (R.R.) at 6a (Compl. ¶¶5-11). Owner alleges that, by improving their properties over the years, Neighbors have caused excessive stormwater discharge or diversion of water onto Owner’s Property, so it became “swamp-like and virtually unusable.” R.R. at 8a (Compl. ¶18). In July 2019, Owner filed a complaint in the nature of mandamus against the Borough alleging non-enforcement of the Ordinances despite his repeated complaints about excessive stormwater discharge on his Property, which he attributes to Neighboring Properties in violation of the SWMO and PMC (Complaint). See R.R. at 3a-25a. Specifically, he averred the Borough failed to cite Neighbors “for violation [of the Ordinances] and direc[t] them to abate the violations.” Compl. ¶21. He claimed he needed to expend $30,000 to mitigate the damage to his Property. Id. ¶24. Owner appended a copy of an engineer’s report to his Complaint suggesting the discharge/diversion of water from Neighboring Properties may contribute to damage on his own (Engineer Report). The Borough filed preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer and insufficient specificity, among others.3 As to the SWMO, the Borough asserted Owner lacks standing to challenge its enforcement because it applies to stormwater 2 On the westerly side of the Property is 5147 Caste Drive, owned by the Dopler Family Trust for Real Estate. See Compl. ¶5. Also on the westerly border is a residence at 5155 Caste Drive, owned by Stacy L. Nguyen. Id. ¶7. Adjacent to the north of the Property is a residence ...</p><br>
<a href="/opinion/4804797/re-grabowsky-v-borough-of-whitehall-a-pa-municipal-corp/">Original document</a>