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City of Sea Isle City v. Vinci

Decided: February 18, 1955.

CITY OF SEA ISLE CITY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANTHONY VINCI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Tenenbaum, J.c.c.

Tenenbaum

The defendant appeals de novo from convictions before the Municipal Magistrate of Sea Isle City for the violation of the Zoning Ordinance No. 213, and for failing to obtain a building permit in violation of Ordinance No. 195.

The pertinent portion of Ordinance No. 213, which is known as the "Building Code," ordains:

" Application for Permit -- Sec. 6.

(a) No person shall erect or construct or proceed with the erection or construction of any building or structure, nor add to, enlarge, alter, repair, move, convert, extend or demolish any building or structure covered by this code, or cause the same to be done, without first obtaining a building permit therefor from the Building Inspector, the fees for which shall be set by a resolution of the Board of Commissioners."

Admittedly there was issued by the Building Inspector of Sea Isle City to the defendant on July 13, 1953, a building permit to "Construct a garage to conform with Building Code and Zoning Ordinance."

The ordinance makes no mention of the period for which building permits are to exist, although the permit bears the printed legend:

"This permit shall remain in force for a period of months, and shall be rescinded and considered as void as to the continuation of work of further erection of said building by the violation of the terms and conditions of the ordinance relating to buildings in the City of Sea Isle City, N.J."

There was inserted in the blank space by the building inspector the words "6 Months."

The defendant undertook the construction of the garage; as to just when he commenced the work is established by the defendant's proof to be the last week of July or early August, 1953. The plaintiff's proof is too uncertain to have any probative value, however, it would appear that the project was not concluded within six months.

If the municipality attempted to vest in the building inspector the arbitrary authority to fix the life of the permit, it lacked the right so to do, or if the building inspector usurped such authority, he was without power or warrant.

Ordinances to be valid and effectual must set forth with clarity some norm or standard by which all persons may know their rights and obligations thereunder. Rosenberg v. Board of Commissioners of City of Camden , 137 N.J.L. 505, 60 A. 2 d 617 (Sup. Ct. 1948); P.J. Ritter Co. v. Mayor of City of Bridgeton , 135 N.J.L. 22, 50 A. 2 d 1 (Sup. Ct. 1946), affirmed 137 N.J.L. 279 (E. & A. 1948); Finn v. Municipal Council of City of Clifton , 136 N.J.L. 34, 53 A. 2 d 790 (E. & A. 1946); Steiker v. Borough of East Paterson , 137 ...


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