The plaintiff herein is the owner of Lots 14 and 16 in Block 8 on Plan of Lots of the Paulsboro Home Site Development Co., made by Joseph R. Moorland, C.E., situate in the Borough of Paulsboro, County of Gloucester and State of New Jersey.
On or about January 29, 1954 plaintiff, through its agent, Angelo Antonelli, orally submitted detailed plans to the defendant Lester W. Milstead, building inspector of said borough, in furtherance of a request for a building permit for a row of houses consisting of four individual units. No formal written application for such a permit was ever made by plaintiff.
The ordinance under which the building inspector was appointed provided, as far as here pertinent, as follows:
"Section 6. Duties. The Building Inspector, upon being provided with plans and specifications, and after receipt of proper applications, shall examine the plans and specifications, and if they are satisfactory he shall mark his approval upon them. When the plans are so approved the Borough Clerk shall issue the permit."
Although there was not submitted at that time a separate instrument which could be deemed to be specifications for said building enterprise, the building inspector admitted that there was sufficient information delineated on said plans to serve as specifications and thereby fulfill the requirements under the ordinance hereafter referred to. Upon the presentation of the plans, Antonelli was advised by the building inspector
that in no event would he issue a permit, since he had been advised by the mayor and common council to issue no further permits for row houses.
The plans called for a construction which not only conformed to the requirements of the building code, but exceeded the minimum requirements thereof. The building inspector further stated that he not only refused to issue such a permit but he refused as well to give the plaintiff an application blank and would not have permitted, in any event, the formal filing of plans and specification with him.
The directions to the building inspector were the result of a series of actions theretofore taken by the common council on June 2, 1953. The minutes of the governing body in this connection disclose the following:
"Mr. Higgenbottom presented petition signed by 106 residents of Swedesboro, Paul and Thompson Avenues, protesting against any housing projects by the Lynn-Built Homes Company on the George Meade Tract because of the present drainage system on Paul and Thompson Avenues and the expense of enlarging the sewer disposal plant. Also the burden it will put on the school system.
Several members of the delegation spoke concerning their opinion, among them Mr. Higgenbottom, Mr. Saul, Mr. Jordon, Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Gray. It was the opinion of these people that the problem of drainage should be solved first before any new homes would be built that would aggravate the problem.
Mr. Gatuso, representing the Lynn-Built Homes Company, and Mr. George Meade and Mr. Barron explained their viewpoint on the project.
Cassel moved, Long seconded that Engineer Conover be instructed to make a study of the drainage problem in the area of Thompson Avenue and Paul Avenue and submit a plan for removing the surface water and to execute the plan before we act any further on the plans for the Meade tract.
The vote: Adams, Nay. Cassel, Yea. Long, Yea. Mennite, Nay. Schwan, Nay. Stevenson, Nay. The motion was lost.
Schwan moved, Stevenson seconded that the Borough Engineer, Conover, be authorized to make the necessary survey of the entire area and the Meade tract and submit to Mayor and ...