The plaintiffs here seek to enjoin the defendant Rutgers Village from conveying, mortgaging or otherwise alienating certain lands heretofore conveyed to it by defendant Flanders Holding Company, Inc., in violation of certain restrictive covenants contained in a conveyance from Flanders Holding Company, Inc., to plaintiffs, and to impose restrictive covenants similar to those contained in said deed to plaintiffs upon the lands conveyed to Rutgers Village.
Defendants not only generally deny the material allegations of the bill concerning the restrictive covenants, but specially plead the statute of frauds.
The facts in connection herewith are as follows:
In the year 1932 Marcus Seidmann and Elizabeth Seidmann, his wife, conveyed four separate parcels of land to defendant Flanders Holding Company, Inc., by four separate
deeds of conveyance. These parcels were all situated in the City of New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey, and were commonly known as the Pennington Farm, Tunison Farm, Dewey Farm and Wilcox Farm. On August 1, 1946, the Flanders Holding Company, Inc., obtained title to an additional tract known as the Carpender Farm by deed of conveyance from Edwin R. Carpender, et al., Trustees. The five parcels were contiguous. Together they formed a tract of approximately 300 acres. At the time Flanders Holding Company, Inc., obtained title to these five tracts of land none of them was subject to any restrictive covenants.
The stock of the Flanders Holding Company, Inc., was divided equally between Marcus Seidmann and Jacob C. Lipman.
On September 7, 1938, a portion of the above entire tract, i.e. , 16.1 acres, was conveyed to Jacob Lipman by deed, without any restrictive covenants. In September, 1938, the said Jacob Lipman conveyed two parcels of land out of this tract, one of which contained restrictive covenants.
In April, 1939, Jacob Lipman died, devising the remainder of 16.1-acre tract and bequeathing his Flanders Holding Company, Inc., stock to his three sons. On November 28, 1939, a map of this 16.1-acre tract entitled "Map of Edgebrook Subdivision 1," dated November, 1939, was filed in the office of the Clerk of Middlesex County by the sons of Jacob Lipman.
The said Lipman sons conveyed a number of other parcels of land in the 16.1-acre tract, subject to various restrictions and finally conveyed the balance to which they then held title to a straw man by a deed containing restrictive covenants. The latter subsequently reconveyed to them, subject to said restrictive covenants.
On August 3, 1940, Flanders Holding Company, Inc., conveyed a certain lot to plaintiffs. This deed read, in part, as follows:
"Being all of Lot No. 1 in Block 718 as shown on a map entitled 'Map of Edgebrook, Section No. 1 & No. 2, situate in the City of New Brunswick, Middlesex Co., New Jersey, Scale 1"-60' May 1940.'
"This conveyance is made, given and accepted subject to the following covenants and restrictions which shall be binding on the parties hereto and shall run with the land and shall be effective until the First of January, 2000.
"1 -- All lots in the tract shall be known and described as residential lots, and no structure shall be erected on any residential building plot other than one detached single family dwelling not to exceed two stories in height and a one or two car garage."
There follow some additional twelve numbered paragraphs providing in substance (1) front and side line building setoffs, (2) minimum area for lots, (3) type of building to be erected, (4) manner of enforcement of covenants.
On January 9, 1941, a map entitled "Map of Edgebrook Sections 1 and 2," dated March, 1940, was filed in the County Clerk's office of Middlesex County by Flanders Holding Company, Inc. This latter map showed the lands delineated on the prior map filed by the Lipman sons and contiguous land of about 18 acres owned by Flanders Holding Company, Inc., plotted into lots.
We are not here concerned with the 16.1-acre tract conveyed to Jacob Lipman except as it may demonstrate historically the background for any future neighborhood scheme adopted by Flanders Holding Company, Inc., and to explain the reference to Sections 1 and 2 in the Flanders Holding Company, Inc., map.
From September 18, 1939, to August 3, 1940, Flanders Holding Company, Inc., made eight conveyances to individual grantees of lots within the boundaries of "Section 2." The first deed contained no restrictive covenants. The next four of these conveyances, i.e. , to Jennings, Schussler, Hartbower and Seng, contained identical restrictive ...