Determining Whether There Is Access to a Property by Its Intended Use

In Application of Little, 180 Pa. Super. 555, 119 A.2d 587, 589 (Pa. Super. 1956), the landowner had a road sufficient for the present use of her land which contained a residence. The landowner sought to open a private road over another's land because such would provide a more direct access to the highway and would make it more convenient to proceed with plans for commercial development of the property. The Superior Court observed that the appropriation of private property for private use is in the nature of eminent domain legislation and must be strictly construed. Little, 119 A.2d at 588. Although the Private Road Act does not require that property be completely landlocked, "the mere inconvenience in the use of an existing road is not enough." Little, 119 A.2d at 589. The court stated that the necessity of a private road must be based on existing conditions. In Pope v. Muth, 332 Pa. Super. 264, 481 A.2d 355 (Pa. Super. 1984), property owners seeking a private road to access their land did intend to build a house on their property. The Board and trial court did not grant them a private road because they wanted to build a house but because they did not have access to their property the intended use of the property is not determinative of whether there is access to the property.