Plaintiff herein seeks a construction of the terms of a covenant contained in a certain deed from Stanley C. Kimble and his wife to the plaintiff, the County Park Commission of Camden County. The purpose of this action is to elicit from this court a determination as to whether the plaintiff would effect a forfeiture under a reversionary
clause in said deed if it granted permission to property owners, whose lands abut the tract conveyed in said deed, to construct private driveways connecting with a park drive.
In connection herewith I find the following facts:
The County Park Commission of Camden County was created in 1926 pursuant to chapter 331 of the Laws of 1926 (now R.S. 40:37-195 et seq.). Under this act it was authorized, inter alia , to acquire lands by purchase, gift or condemnation, for the purpose of establishing public parks and open spaces within said county.
By deed dated January 10, 1929 it acquired from Stanley C. Kimble and Helen L. Kimble certain real estate in the Township of Delaware. Said deed contained the following language:
"A further consideration for the conveyance of the lands hereinabove particularly described is that the party of the second part will dedicate the same to the public for park and open spaces for public resort and recreation.
The sole purpose of this conveyance is the dedication of the said land to the public purposes aforesaid, it being understood and agreed that if, at any time in the future, the said dedication should fail and the said lands, or any part thereof cease to be used for the public purposes aforesaid, or any of them, the said land shall thereupon revert to the said parties of the first part, their heirs and assigns.
And further that said conveyance is made upon the express understanding that the land of the party of the first part immediately facing or abutting the land hereinabove conveyed shall be free from any assessments for benefits arising from the establishment and maintenance of any public park, highway or other public improvement in connection with the Camden County Park Commission System of Parks within the land hereinabove described."
Prior to the acquisition of the lands by plaintiff from the Kimbles, the former had prepared, consistent with the statute, a plot which delineated a "proposed boulevard" running along the northerly border of said lands, 60 feet in width. Said boulevard, now known as "Park Boulevard," was eventually laid out. The paved surface was 25.8 feet in width. The northerly line of this paved roadway was
15.3 feet south of the northerly line of the land acquired. This intervening strip consisted, in order commencing with the paved roadway, of an unimproved strip 3.3 feet wide, a sidewalk 6 feet wide, and an unimproved strip 6 feet wide. Both the 15.3 foot strip and the ...