Daniel J. Brennan, J.s.c.
This is a proceeding in lieu of prerogative writs.
The plaintiffs in this action are engaged in the automatic laundry business in various locations in the City of Newark, their places of business being within the second and third business districts, as well as in the fourth residential district in said city. This business is referred to by the public as a launderette or laundromat.
On June 9, 1954 the defendant City of Newark adopted a new zoning ordinance, effective July 1, 1954, being now chapter 36, Zoning, of the Revised Ordinances of the City of Newark. Section 1, sub-paragraph 25, of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Newark (Revised Ordinances of
the City of Newark, section 36.1, sub-paragraph 25) defines a launderette as follows:
"25. Launderette. Also described as automatic wet wash business. An establishment only for the washing and drying of clothing brought in by the customer and in which such washing and drying is performed with the use of mechanical equipment, and for which a fee is charged. No pick up or delivery by the management or others in connection therewith is permitted."
Launderettes, as defined, are permitted, under the ordinance, in first business districts. An examination of the map annexed to the zoning ordinance shows that first business districts adjoin residential districts, as a rule. Laundries, as such, are prohibited in first, second and third business districts, but are permitted in fourth business districts. The zoning ordinance classifies launderettes, as defined therein, with hand laundries and classifies them separately from laundries. Vide zoning ordinance, supra , sections 36.7 and 36.8.
The plaintiffs were, prior to July 1, 1954 and subsequent to that date, engaged in the launderette business as the same is so defined by the ordinance, supra. Plaintiffs Marie's Launderette, Inc., Rapid Launderers and Louis Eisen, trading as Launderer E.Z., were prior to the enactment of the new zoning ordinance doing business in a second business zone. Under the new zoning ordinance the location in which they are continuing to do business is also classified as a second business zone. Plaintiffs James and Lucille Williams, partners trading as Serv-U-Launderette, were formerly conducting their business in a second business zone, whereas this zone is now classified as a third business zone. Plaintiff Saul Kron, trading as Kron's Laundry-Ette, formerly did business in a third residential zone, which zone is now classified as a fourth residential zone. These several plaintiffs seek the judgment of this court adjudging and determining that section One, sub-paragraph 25, of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Newark (Revised Ordinances of the City of Newark, section 36.1, sub-paragraph
25) constitutes an arbitrary exercise of power and is ineffectual as a bar to the rights of plaintiffs to effect pick-up and delivery service; that the application of the ordinance, as it defines launderettes and prohibits pick-up and delivery service, is unreasonable and discriminatory and is void and of no force and effect. Plaintiffs further assert that this provision is also unconstitutional. Plaintiffs bring this present action to set aside the section of the zoning ordinance above referred to relating to "launderette."
It appears that the plaintiffs presently operate under licenses from the City of Newark as a launderette, the licenses having been issued pursuant to an ordinance of the City of Newark entitled "An Ordinance Regulating and Licensing Laundries, Launderettes, Cleaning and Dyeing Establishments and Installations in the City of Newark," adopted January 29, 1947, and amendments thereof.
The defendants contend that this section of the ordinance here under consideration does not constitute an unreasonable exercise of police power; that it does not violate any provision of the Constitutions of the United States or of the State of New Jersey; that this section does not violate any basic rights of private property. In the instant case it is claimed by the defendants that the regulation in the ordinance is to promote the general welfare and to limit the ...