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Frelinghuysen v. State Highway Commission

Decided: October 30, 1930.

JOSEPH S. FRELINGHUYSEN, PROSECUTOR,
v.
THE STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENT



On certiorari.

For the prosecutor, McDermott, Enright & Carpenter.

For the respondent, William A. Stevens, attorney-general, George T. Vickers and Walter H. Bacon, Jr.

Before Justices Trenchard, Lloyd and Case.

Lloyd

The opinion of the court was delivered by

LLOYD, J. The writ of certiorari in this case was allowed by a member of this court to review his order appointing commissioners to appraise the lands of the prosecutor set

forth in the petition as necessary and required to be taken by the State of New Jersey for public use in the construction of state highway route No. 29, together with the antecedent proceedings leading up to such order.

It is admitted that the land involved is not to be used by the state highway commission as part of the highway for public travel, but is acquired for the purpose of eliminating obstacles to the view of travelers on the intersecting highways, the object being the public safety, particularly in the use of the automobile as a present means of transportation.

Three reasons are urged by the prosecutor for setting aside the order: (1) That the commission is without power under the Eminent Domain law to take lands for such purpose; (2) that the title of the act is not sufficiently broad to confer a power of condemnations, and (3) that the state cannot constitutionally take, as in this case is demanded, all of the right, title and interest of the prosecutor.

The first two of these contentions we think are without merit. The State of New Jersey has undertaken to establish within its borders a comprehensive scheme of highways adapted and necessary to the full use and enjoyment of modern means of transportation, and to this end in 1917, in chapter 14 of the laws of that year, it directed the state highway commission to "as soon as practicable lay out" certain designated routes. It authorized the commission to lay out, open and improve new roads as well as to utilize and improve existing roads; also to lay out routes in continuation of, connecting with or in addition to the routes specified.

In 1927, chapter 319 was passed. Pamph. L., p. 712. In this act various routes were defined and the state highway commission was given substantially the same powers as were conferred by the earlier act. In section 111, subdivision E of this act (at p. 725) the commission is authorized "to do and perform whatever may be necessary or desirable to effectuate the object and purpose of this act," and the statute directs that the powers conferred are to be liberally construed.

In addition to the broad powers conferred by the act, section 118 (at p. 732) provides for the ...


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