For the prosecutors, Warren Dixon, Jr.
For the respondents, Donald W. Waesche.
Before Justices Lloyd, Case and Donges.
LLOYD, J. Assessments against the properties here involved were set aside by this court on the 28th day of May last, whereupon on the 19th of June following rules were granted at the instance of the city of Hackensack to show cause why the Supreme Court should not "ascertain and determine for what sum said properties should be assessed, and by order or decree fix the amount thereof."
While counsel for the owners in their brief called attention to the legal status of the application, and therein argued the validity of assessment by the court at the hearing on the rule, it was stipulated that the court make the assessments, and that the parties be concluded by the disposition the court should make of the questions involved. Under this
stipulation there is but one problem before us, viz: the benefits the respective properties received from the improvements involved, and the conclusiveness of our finding makes it all the more imperative that exceptional care be exercised in determining what the assessments shall be.
The ordinance under which the assessments are asked is one providing for the extension of Berry street in the city of Hackensack providing for the acquisition of the necessary land and for the payment of the cost by assessment thereof as a local improvement on the properties benefited thereby.
The total cost of the improvement is $289,772.53. The assessment on the Oritani Field Club property is $23,221.65, and on the Barkman property $3,740. These, as already stated, were set aside and the making of a proper assessment, if any, in each case is now committed to this court.
Taking up first the Field Club benefits: Berry street, before the opening, existed as a public highway in a southerly direction as far as State street. The extension carried it irregularly an additional two blocks, through Main street, the principal business highway of the city, crossing at approximately right angles, to River street. The Field Club property occupies the easterly part of the square lying between Main street and River street and between Berry street as newly opened and Camden street, a highway on its southerly side. It has a frontage on River street of four hundred and thirty-seven feet, on Camden street of two hundred and twenty-five feet, and two hundred and fourteen feet on Berry street as now opened.
Our examination of the evidence produced by the respective parties convinces us that the assessment of $23,221.65 (set aside by this court) was greatly in excess of any possible benefits derived from the opening of Berry street. The property was a considerable one and seems to have been used by the Field Club as a tennis court and for other sports. It already had a frontage on River street, recently opened, and had access through that highway, Camden street and other ...