For the prosecutors, Warren Dixon, Jr.
For the respondents, Lloyd L. Schroeder.
Before Justice Bodine (at chambers under the statute).
BODINE, J. The writ reviews the legality of an assessment for alleged special benefits resulting from the construction of a sanitary sewer in the Borough of Wood-Ridge, Bergen County.
The question posed, in the first instance, is whether an assessment for alleged special benefits is legal when it appears by the report of the Commissioners of Assessment that the
sum of $1,634.41 is imposed against prosecutors' property on the premises that "It is reasonable to assume that a street will be laid out * * * (running through prosecutors' property) in which event 285 feet on the northwesterly side of said proposed street * * * and 385 feet along the southeasterly line of said proposed street * * * would be subject to the assessment of $1,566.06 plus $68.55 for four risers, aggregating $1,634.61. We understand that the said assessment of $1,634.41 will not be a lien upon that portion of lot number twenty (20) described in this schedule 'C' until benefits have been conferred. In the event that said portion of said lot number twenty (20) is laid out as hereinbefore contemplated, the benefits will then be conferred and the assessment will be equitable and just and will then ripen into liens upon said property."
Prosecutors contend that no present benefits have resulted, that the Commissioners' report on its face discloses that no present benefits have resulted, that the attempted imposition of this inchoate assessment is not within the contemplation of the statute, that anything other than a presently immediately accruing benefit is illegal.
The prosecutors' property consists of two different physical parcels, against which two parcels there have been imposed three separate assessments. Highland Avenue runs in a general easterly and westerly direction. On the north side of Highland Avenue prosecutors own a parcel with a frontage on Highland Avenue of 269 feet to a depth of 143 feet. The sewer for which the assessment has been imposed does not run through Highland Avenue the full distance of this property, but only approximately one-half of it or a distance of 132 feet. This property and a parcel directly opposite it on the south side of Highland Avenue with a similar fronage of 132 feet and a depth of 100 feet have been subjected to an assessment of $617.08 and $17.14 for one riser, totaling $634.22. The report of the Commissioners of Assessment imposes a present alleged benefit on these two parcels.
The balance of the prosecutors' property, and against which the inchoate assessment is imposed, lies on the south side of Highland Avenue also. It is generally rectangular in shape,
with a total frontage (including the 100 X 132 feet above mentioned) of 269 feet and a depth of approximately 390 feet. It is out of this rectangular piece that the parcel on the south side of Highland Avenue first mentioned, with a frontage of 132 feet and a depth of 100 ...