William C. Allison died on December 18, 1924, a resident of Englewood Cliffs, in the County of Bergen. He left a last will and testament which was probated in the former Prerogative Court. The first and eleventh paragraphs of the will are as follows:
"I. It is my desire and intention to dispose by gift of a large part of my remaining estate for the purpose of pleasing Almighty God, benefiting my fellow-man, and as far as possible developing that section of the Palisades along the Hudson, located in the borough of Englewood Cliffs and vicinity.
"XI. All the rest, residue and remainder of my property, real and personal, whatsoever and wheresoever situate not hereinbefore specifically bequeathed, I give and devise and bequeath unto my said trustees, in trust nevertheless, to maintain and develop in accordance with my known wishes, the Palisades along the Hudson, in the borough of Englewood Cliffs and vicinity. I am now formulating more definitely plans for the development and maintenance of said Palisades, and to that end have requested two prominent residents of the city of Englewood to submit to me a plan for such development and maintenance. If such plan is submitted and receives my approval, then I direct my trustees to use this trust fund for the purpose of carrying out such plan. If, however, such plan does not receive my approval, then I order and direct my said trustees to use this trust fund for the development and maintenance of said Palisades section in accordance with my wishes as expressed to them."
Shortly after the probate of the will, Mr. Allison's daughter filed a complaint in the former Court of Chancery seeking to have the residuary clause declared invalid. On review, the former Court of Errors & Appeals, in Noice v. Schnell , 101 N.J. Eq. 252 (E. & A. 1927), certiorari denied Allison v. Schnell , 276 U.S. 625, 48 S. Ct. 304, 72 L. Ed. 738, held:
"We deem the disposition of his residuary estate made by Mr. Allison to be a valid, charitable trust, sufficiently definite for enforcement and execution in accordance with the wishes of Mr. Allison as expressed generally in his will through the trustees appointed by him who are vested with a discretion to devise the method and ways for the accomplishment of the testator's purpose."
Mr. Allison left an estate of $3,107.426.26. Of this amount $1,883,745.85 represented the value of stock of the Allison Land Company, a corporation owning land principally on
the Palisades. All of the stock of this corporation was owned by Allison.
In 1942 Harry J. Schnell and Frank V. Baldwin, trustees under the Allison will, and as such directors of the Allison Land Company, petitioned the former Court of Chancery for permission to convey to the Palisades Interstate Park Commission a portion of the Allison holdings without consideration. Since the Commission was committed to the duty of protecting and developing the Palisades, an objective which had occasioned the creation of the Allison trust, the conveyance could justly be considered to be in furtherance of the desires of Mr. Allison. By its decree, which bore the consent of the Attorney-General, the court approved the proposed gift.
In the petition filed by the trustees, there was among other things, an allegation that the trustees had caused to be prepared detailed plans for the development of a park of approximately 175 acres, extending from the Palisades to the City of Englewood. Intersecting highways made necessary the division of the park into three sections. Two of the sections of the park, comprising about 25 acres, have already been developed. The third section is a tract of approximately 150 acres, 70 acres of which are in Englewood Cliffs and the balance is in the City of Englewood. As stated in their petition, the purpose of the trustees was that the 150-acre tract would be developed in such a manner as to preserve "as far as possible the landscape and formations, the trees, shrubs and flowers indigenous to the Palisades." The development of the third section at the time of the filing of the petition had been suspended. Why does not appear.
In 1944 a similar application was made by Frank V. Baldwin, as surviving trustee, for permission to make another gift of land to the Park Commission. The petition contained allegations concerning plans for a park which were identical with those contained in the 1942 petition.
In the 1944 proceeding the trustee also sought a determination of the extent of his power to sell real and personal property in furtherance of ...