Decided: November 18, 1946.
1943 -- (JACOBUS HALL) THE CITY OF HOBOKEN, PROSECUTOR,
DIVISION OF TAX APPEALS, DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION AND FINANCE -- STATE OF NEW JERSEY, AND STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANTS; 1943 -- (TANK HOUSE NO. 1) THE CITY OF HOBOKEN, PROSECUTOR, V. DIVISION OF TAX APPEALS, DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION AND FINANCE -- STATE OF NEW JERSEY, AND STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANTS; 1944 -- BLOCK 228, 235, 236, 258, 259, PLOTS 27, 27A, 27B, 27C, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 4, 5. THE CITY OF HOBOKEN, PROSECUTOR, V. DIVISION OF TAX APPEALS, DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION AND FINANCE -- STATE OF NEW JERSEY, AND STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANTS
For the prosecutor, John J. Fallon.
For Stevens Institute, Isadore Haber.
Before Justices Bodine, Perskie and Wachenfeld.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
BODINE, J. Case No. 228 is before the court in order to review the judgment of the Division of Tax Appeals in the
Department of Taxation and Finance of the State of New Jersey, affirming the action of the Hudson County Board of Taxation in cancelling the assessment for taxation levied by the tax department of the City of Hoboken for the year 1943 on property of the Stevens Institute of Technology described on the tax books of the City of Hoboken as Plot 35, Castle Point, upon which is erected a two story building known as Jacobus Hall used on the assessment date as a dormitory. The assessors levied no assessment against the building and allowed, as exempt from taxation, some curtilage, but assessed the balance of the land for $110,000. The Hudson County Board of Taxation canceled the assessment on all the lands in the plot on the ground that it was necessary to the use of the dormitory building. The city appealed to the Department of Taxation and Finance, where the judgment of the Hudson County Board of Taxation was affirmed.
The argument is made that the exemption from taxation of 2.82 acres for the use of Jacobus Hall is more than reasonably required for the use of that building. We do not think so.
The building in question is the center for the social life of the college; not only the resident group of 145 make use of it but about 600 students. It includes a music room; in the basement are squash courts and locker rooms. It seems to be a general utility building for the college and for the meeting of the undergraduate clubs; indeed, certain commencement exercises are held there. The plot of ground is traversed constantly by many students, as well as by guests of the faculty and faculty members. At commencement time there may be in attendance anywhere from 800 to 1,000 persons and on these occasions cars are parked on the lot.
It seems that the exemption was proper, the entire plot being well under the statutory maximum of five acres. The city agrees that the Division of Tax Appeals should have made its own independent determination as to how much land was necessary for a fair use of the dormitory; but the record discloses that such independent determination was made. The city is merely dissatisfied that the arbitrary action of its assessor, in drawing arbitrary lines marking off the land which
to him seemed necessary and leaving out land which to him seemed unnecessary, was not affirmed.
But upon our examination and a weighing of the testimony before the Division of Tax Appeals, we are satisfied ...
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