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Lenzner v. City of Trenton

Decided: October 8, 1952.

ISADORE LENZNER AND FREDA LENZNER, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF TRENTON, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF NEW JERSEY, THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF TRENTON, N.J., AND ALBERT G. HOWELL, ACTING CITY CLERK OF SAID CITY OF TRENTON, N.J., DEFENDANTS



Civil action. In lieu of prerogative writ. Upon cross-motions by defendant for a summary judgment and by plaintiffs for a default judgment and for dismissal of defendants' motion.

Woods, J.s.c.

Woods

On May 29, 1952 the Board of Commissioners of the City of Trenton, New Jersey, adopted an ordinance providing for the acquisition of lands for the public parking of vehicles, which reads as follows:

"WHEREAS, the greatly increased use by the public of motor vehicles of all kinds has caused serious traffic congestion on the streets of the City of Trenton; that the parking of motor vehicles on the streets has contributed to this congestion to such an extent as to interfere seriously with the primary use of such streets for the movement of traffic; that such parking prevents the free circulation of traffic in, through and from other municipalities, impedes rapid and effective fighting of fires and the disposition of police forces and endangers the health, safety and welfare of the general public; that such parking threatens irreparable loss in valuations of property in

portions of the city which can no longer be readily reached by vehicular traffic; that this parking crisis, which threatens the welfare of the community can be reduced by providing sufficient 'off-street' parking facilities properly located in the commercial and industrial areas of the city; that adequate provision of properly located terminal space for automobiles is a public responsibility and cannot be effectively dealt with by private enterprise; therefore the Board of Commissioners of the City of Trenton DO ORDAIN:

1. That pursuant to the provisions of chapter 138 of the Laws of 1942, R.S. 40:60-25.1, et seq. , it is hereby determined that the City of Trenton shall acquire by purchase or condemnation the following described lands for the purpose of making the same available to the public for the public parking of vehicles.

2. That the cost of the said acquisition of said lands for such purpose, shall be raised by the issuance of bonds of the municipality in the manner provided by law.

3. The said lands are known as City Atlas Page 5, Lots No. 43-44-45-62-61-98-128-60-99, and part of Lots Nos. 63-46-135-47 and 48, more specifically described as follows:

(here follows the description of the lands by meets and bounds)

4. The City Counsel be and is hereby authorized and directed to negotiate with the owners for the purchase of said lands, and upon failure to arrive at a price satisfactory to the city to institute condemnation proceedings for the purpose of acquiring said lands in the manner provided by law."

Plaintiffs are the owners of Lots No. 43-44-45 and 62 on the City Atlas Page 5 referred to in said ordinance, and the plaintiff Isadore Lenzner also has a leasehold interest in certain other rear lands included and described in said ordinance. These lands are situate in the central business district of the City of Trenton and have been used, developed and operated by the plaintiff Isadore Lenzner as a profitable parking yard for automobiles, with the exception of a small portion thereof used for mercantile and dwelling purposes for a period of 24 years.

The plaintiffs bring this action to obtain a judgment declaring the ordinance to be illegal, invalid, null, void and without legislative or constitutional authority, and in contravention and in violation of the personal, legal and constitutional rights of the plaintiffs.

The defendants filed no answer but moved for a summary judgment on the ground that there is ...


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