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Redfern v. Board of Commissioners

Decided: May 13, 1948.

FRANK J. REDFERN, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF JERSEY CITY, A PUBLIC BODY CORPORATE, AND PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENTS



On certiorari.

For the appellant, Maurice C. Brigadier.

For the Board of Commissioners, Charles A. Rooney and Charles Hershenstein.

For Prudential Insurance Company, Milton, McNulty & Augelli (John Milton).

For the State of New Jersey, Walter D. Van Riper.

Bodine

The opinion of the court was delivered by

BODINE, J. This is an appeal from a judgment entered in the Supreme Court dismissing a writ of certiorari allowed to review two ordinances of the City of Jersey City, hereafter called the City. By special leave of the Supreme Court, the record has been supplemented by depositions which were not before that court. This is due to the urgent public interest in securing an early adjudication in this court.

The ordinances in question were adopted to facilitate a redevelopment housing project in co-operation with the Prudential Insurance Company, hereafter called Prudential. One

of the ordinances provides for the acquisition by the City of the required lands and the financing of the cost thereof. The other approves a contract and lease between the City and Prudential, in which the details of the operation are set forth with great particularity.

The legal obligation of the parties has matured and the commencement of the project will begin as soon as possible after the determination of this case, in the event that we decide that the ordinances and the Urban Redevelopment Law of 1946, Pamph. L., ch. 52, are not prohibited by the Constitution of 1844. The new constitution adopted in November, 1947, deals with the clearance and replanning of blighted areas. The lands in question in this case are, for the most part, not built upon and perhaps do not fall within the new grant. The acts under review were completed before the new constitution became effective.

The need for housing in the city is very acute. The reasons for the lack of private building are economic. The speculative builder is no longer a favorite with the banks. High taxes, high cost of labor and scarcity of material have resulted in a paralysis of building enterprises. There is need for 23,968 additional houses in the city. The construction of new houses for the years 1940 to 1946, inclusive, in that city were 165, 58, 22, 14, 41, 23 and 119. During the years 1940 through 1945, there were demolished the following number of obsolete abodes, 127, 129, 112, 111, 70 and 96. The state is in urgent need of at least 229,440 dwelling houses. The condition is a serious threat to public health and welfare. Civilized man cannot live in this climate without suitable houses.

It would be possible to state further facts and figures to demonstrate the pressing need for new dwelling units but since all informed public minded persons agree that the situation is real and ...


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