The land - 35 acres of which was used for the just opened Skippack Elementary School - was worth more than $1.35 million, the panel ruled, and not the $741,554 paid Bean's children - Virginia Pugliese and John R. Bean - said their attorney, Jeremiah Cardamone, of Lansdale, yesterday.
The Board of View entered the dispute in June, after Pugliese and Bean challenged the price offered by the school district and the township during eminent-domain proceedings.
``I think $25,000 an acre for prime real estate in Skippack is reasonable,'' Cardamone said, noting recent rapid development in the area. ``I am hoping there won't be an appeal.''
The township and the school district have one month to contest the Sept. 28 decision in Montgomery County Court, Cardamone said.
Skippack Township Manager Daniel Stonehouse said yesterday that the price paid for the land in 1997 was fair. Current Montgomery County real-estate rolls show the property's assessed value at $615,290. The township kept 15 acres for use as a park.
``I think we could appeal the decision,'' Stonehouse said.
Township Solicitor Thomas Keenan said he was not aware of the Board of View's decision and declined to comment.
Word of the panel's ruling came as a surprise yesterday to Perkiomen Valley School Board President Randy Riegner, who said his board had not discussed the issue in more than a year.
``I saw the appraisal reports on that property, and I am surprised that such a discrepancy exists,'' Riegner said. ``I hope that we will vote to appeal the decision.''
Richard M. Lam of Lafayette Hill, who served on the Board of View, said both sides offered comparable properties for the panel to consider in determining the value of the land.
``That criteria is subjective,'' Lam said. ``What it boils down to is the school board's appraisers look at it one way and the estate's appraisers look at it another way.''
John D. Bean has not been seen since Feb. 16, 1993, when, police say, his abandoned vehicle was found at the Facenda-Whitaker Bowling Lanes, on Swede Street and Germantown Pike, in East Norriton. Five months later, he was declared a missing person by Montgomery County Orphans Court.
The investigation remains open, police say, but Bean cannot be declared legally dead for seven years, so the question arises: If the township and the school board agree to pay up, who gets the money?
``John Bean, if he appears,'' Cardamone said, adding that it would otherwise go to Bean's estate.
In the meantime, Cardamone said, ``the family is happy and relieved that the effort made over the last couple of years resulted in vindication.''