City of Pittsburgh, Historic Review Commission v. Weinberg

676 A.2d 207 (1996)

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City of Pittsburgh, Historic Review Commission v. Weinberg

Pennsylvania Supreme Court
676 A.2d 207 (1996)

  • Written by Jody Stuart, JD

Facts

Alvin and Shirley Weinberg (plaintiffs) purchased Gateway House, a designated historic building, for $175,000. The Weinbergs purchased the house from Greystone Associates (Greystone). The Weinbergs had previously agreed to purchase a new townhouse from Greystone but, due to drainage problems at the townhouse site, wanted to be released from the agreement. Greystone agreed to the release in exchange for the Weinbergs’ purchase of Gateway House. The Weinbergs spent $36,000 on initial repairs to the house, but the house had serious structural problems. The Weinbergs then requested permission from the City of Pittsburgh, Historic Review Commission (commission) (defendant) to demolish Gateway House, which the commission denied. During the commission’s hearing, Lee Goldblum, a realtor, provided unrefuted testimony that Gateway House could possibly be sold as is for $200,000 to $300,000. Goldblum had 23 years of experience in real estate, with an emphasis on the area where Gateway House was located and a strong interest in historic houses. The Weinbergs appealed in state trial court, and the court reversed the commission’s decision. The commonwealth court affirmed the trial court’s decision. The commonwealth court found that Goldblum’s testimony was not competent because there were no comparable properties on which he could base an expert opinion and that the Weinbergs had shown that the commission’s refusal would cause them economic hardship. The commission appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Nix, C.J.)

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