Citizens to Keep Radnor Park Public and Albert B. Murphy, III and Heather Murphy and David M. Humphrey and Gayla McClusky and Ralph Thomas, Appellants, v. Radnor Township Board of Commissioners and the Agnes Irwin School. Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. Argued: October 15, 2012. Filed: January 11, 2013. OPINION NOT REPORTED. Memorandum Opinion by Judge Leavitt.
No legal precedent exists in Pennsylvania for finding that a conservation easement acquired by a private land trust is a public trust.
This paper was included in a compendium, "The Public Trust Doctrine in Thirty-Seven States," prepared by Lewis & Clark Law School students in 2013. The paper's analysis does not include the 2010 PA Supreme Court decision in Re: Erie Golf Course.
This compendium examines the public trust doctrine in 37 different states, discussing various approaches of the states to the origins and basis of the doctrine as well as to the natural resources burdened, the purposes served, and the ability of the public to enforce the doctrine. The analyses were prepared by law students. Note that the Pennsylvania paper does not reference the 2010 PA Supreme Court decision in Re: Erie Golf Course.
The author argues that a reformulated public trust doctrine for New York will permit optimal public benefit from privatization of some green spaces. This public benefit will come in the form of revitalized green spaces, previously forsaken by municipal government. Further, a reformulated public trust doctrine will limit judicial intervention in this area to the courts’ traditional role of striking down transactions in which government overreaches and attempts to transfer trust lands predominantly, not incidentally, for the benefit of private third parties.