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Appeals court: Annexation is definitely dead

Judge Wojcik rendered his decision on the appeal of the trial court decision, affirming the lower court’s decision that the 1903 Annexation Law was repealed in 2022 before the most recent annexation petition filing in September 2022 and that it was repealed lawfully.

From the decision:

Because we hold that Act 41 of 2022 was enacted in conformity with article III and is not unconstitutional, any doubt as to the status of the 1903 Annexation Law has been removed. The specific repeal of the 1903 Annexation Law within Act 41 of 2022 became effective before Appellants filed their Annexation Petition. As such, Appellants may not utilize the procedures outlined in the 1903 Annexation Law, and they are required to utilize the initiative and referendum procedure in article IX, sections 8 and 14, unless legislation is enacted that offers another procedure for consolidations or mergers with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Finally, because we conclude that the 1903 Annexation Law is invalid, we need not reach Objectors’ argument that the 1903 Annexation Law is unconstitutional under the free elections clause in article I, section 5 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, Pa. Const. art. I, §5. Accordingly, and for the foregoing reasons, we affirm the trial court’s order.

In re: Proposed Annexation of Wilkinsburg by the City of Pittsburgh; No. 137 C.D. 2022 – argued May 10, 2023; filed July 13, 2023

Barring the petitions escalating this to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, annexation is dead. We sincerely thank the intervenors and their lawyers as well as Wilkinsburg’s solicitors for standing up in court for Wilkinsburg’s independence.

This news does not mean that we are done. That does not mean we can retire Wilkinsburg Future. This means that Wilkinsburg has a future as the Borough of Wilkinsburg, an independent neighbor and friend of the City of Pittsburgh, and that future belongs to Wilkinsburgers to shape. You can see it already in the long-term efforts we helped to start such as the Wilkinsburg Land Bank, the Government Study Commission, and some less visible community efforts, some of which may grow to become worth celebrating publicly.

We hope you will stay tuned and engaged, such as on our Facebook page and our Facebook group, but especially when it comes to voting. Make sure that you register to vote or update your registration.

The full text of the decision: