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Port of New York Authority v. City of Newark

Decided: January 4, 1952.

THE PORT OF NEW YORK AUTHORITY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE CITY OF NEWARK, DEFENDANT



Freund, J.s.c.

Freund

The Port of New York Authority instituted this proceeding to compel the City of Newark and its officials to perform an express agreement to discontinue dumping garbage and refuse upon lands commonly referred to as the Newark Airport area leased by the city to the plaintiff.

The material facts are undisputed. Briefly stated here, later detailed, the proofs establish an unequivocal agreement in the lease whereby the city covenanted to cease dumping not later than July 21, 1949; that it requested, and was granted, extensions of time, the last being until December 31, 1949; that the city breached its agreement by continuing to dump; and that its acts constitute a serious hazard to the operation of the premises as an airport.

The defendant offers no real defense. In an answer setting up ten separate defenses, it challenges the plaintiff's right to relief solely on technical grounds. It asserts that it will be inconvenienced by the necessity of finding other dumping grounds. At the trial the defense offered but one witness; he testified that the defendant was endeavoring to find, but had not yet found, other premises and means for disposal of the garbage.

It is well known that the Port of New York Authority is a bi-state agency of the States of New York and New Jersey, created in 1921 by compact (Laws of New York , 1921, chapter 154, amended Laws of 1930, chapter 419; Laws of New Jersey , 1921, chapter 151, R.S. 32:1-1 et seq.), approved by Congress on August 23, 1921 (42 Stat. 174), and in the interests of the public performs governmental functions projecting beyond state lines. Helvering, &c., v. Gerhardt , 304 U.S. 405, 58 S. Ct. 969, 82 L. Ed. 1427 (1938); Miller v. Port of New York Authority , 18 N.J. Misc. 601 (Sup. Ct. 1939); Howell v. Port of New York Authority , 34 F. Supp. 797 (D.N.J. 1940); Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Shamberg's Estate , 144 F.2d 998 (C.C.A. 2 d 1944), certiorari denied 323 U.S. 792 (1945); Sullivan v. Port of New York Authority , 134 N.J.L. 124 (Sup. Ct. 1946).

The States of New Jersey and New York adopted a plan for the development, maintenance and operation of air and marine terminal and transportation facilities in the Port of New York District, and to effectuate it adopted concurrent legislation. New Jersey, chapter 43, Laws of 1947, R.S. 32:1-35.1 to 32:1-35.17, relating to air terminals, and chapter 44, relating to marine terminals, R.S. 32:1-35.28 to 32:1-35.36, amended by chapters 212 and 214, Laws of 1948, R.S. 32:1-35.1 et seq.; New York, chapter 802, Laws of 1947, as amended by chapter 785, Laws of 1948; chapter 631, Laws of 1947, as amended by chapter 784, Laws of 1948. Pursuant thereto, on October 22, 1947, the plaintiff and the City of Newark entered into a written agreement pertaining to the Newark Airport and Port Newark Marine Terminal. The defendant municipality leased to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff hired from the defendant, under a long-term lease, certain lands and premises particularly described in the agreement and outlined on accompanying maps. The plaintiff has been in possession of the property since March 22, 1948, and in compliance with the terms of the lease has paid to the defendant a minimum annual rental of $100,000.

For the rehabilitation and development of the Newark Airport and Port Newark, the plaintiff has issued and sold bonds for $27,000,000, secured by a pledge of the revenues of the two terminals. It has spent and entered into contracts involving expenditures of $20,300,000. The lease made explicit provision for discontinuance of dumping of garbage and refuse upon the demised premises by the defendant not later than 16 months from its effective date, i.e. , July 21, 1949. Section 41 provides as follows:

"The City shall terminate as of a date not later than six months after the effective date of the lease, all permits issued to third parties to dump refuse and trade waste on the demised premises.

The Port Authority agrees, however, to permit the City to continue the dumping of refuse on the demised premises for a period not to exceed 16 months after the effective date of the lease, and the City agrees to cease and discontinue all such operations after that date. * * *"

Cognizant of its obligation to discontinue dumping on July 21, 1949, but finding itself unable to do so, the defendant requested an extension of time in a letter dated June 29, 1949, from Mayor Ralph A. Villani to the plaintiff. He wrote as follows:

"The terms of the lease between the Port of New York Authority and the City of Newark require that within a very short period, the City must discontinue dumping refuse material on the Airport area.

A study of the City's disposal problem has been made by me and the engineers of the Bureau of Sanitation for a long time and particularly since the signing of the lease. As you know, any change in the method in disposal of the huge volume of waste produced daily requires considerable planning and the expenditure of large capital sums for facilities such as incinerators.

It is my intention to request the Board of Commissioners to provide the necessary financing for the construction of an incinerator to solve the disposal ...


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