Goldmann, Freund and Conford. The opinion of the court was delivered by Conford, J.A.D.
We have here to deal with an appeal by a neighboring resident and property owner raising the question of the validity of a variance from the restrictions of the zoning ordinance of the City of Asbury Park granted by the governing body of the municipality, upon recommendation of the local zoning board of adjustment, in favor of the Woman's Club of Asbury Park. The action under review was taken pursuant to R.S. 40:55-39(d) as amended. The amendment by L. 1953, c. 288 (approved July 27, 1953) does not bear upon the questions here presented.
An action in the Law Division complaining of the variance resulted in judgment for defendants, following submission and denial of a motion for summary judgment on behalf of plaintiff.
The property in question is a vacant lot at the southwest corner of Eighth Avenue and Emory Street, Asbury Park, somewhat irregular in dimensions because of the widening flare on the west side of Emory Street immediately before its intersection with the south line of Eighth Avenue. It was purchased by the Woman's Club of Asbury Park by contract conditioned on the successful outcome of its application for the presently disputed variance. The intention is to erect a clubhouse on the basis of plans submitted to the municipal bodies and represented as being designed to have the appearance of a home. The plot is in the R-2 zone wherein are permitted one- and two-family detached dwellings, churches, privately conducted schools for less than twelve pupils, the office or studio of a professional person not occupying more than 20% of the floor area of a building and free from display of goods or advertising other than a one square foot announcement
sign, the taking in of boarders (other than ill or feebleminded persons) provided there is no exterior display or advertising sign, and accessory uses customarily incident to the above. Clubhouses are not allowed in the zone but they are permitted in the R-3 zone, a corner end-section of which begins across the street (Eighth Avenue) from this property on the north.
The Woman's Club was incorporated in 1913 "to create an organized center of thought and action among women for their intellectual and social advancement and through united effort to assist in civic and philanthropic work." Most of its members are now non-residents of the city. It presently has no adequate housing for its activities. These include largely cultural affairs such as art exhibits, concerts, book reviews, etc. There are evening and junior departments which meet evenings, "with probably two or three dances a year," and a sub-junior department devoted to the activities of "teenagers." Alcoholic beverages are not to be sold or dispensed on the premises. The representation on its behalf before the zoning board was that it had outgrown its existing quarters, had searched diligently in Asbury Park for other quarters, but had found none which was both adequate in size and within the price the club could afford, other than the subject parcel.
The zoning board resolution recommending the variance makes these findings:
"1. That the parcel of land of the applicant The Woman's Club of Asbury Park is peculiarly different in size and shape from all other parcels in the zone wherein applicant's land is situate.
2. That the architectural design of the building proposed to be erected is in harmony with other buildings and structures in said zone.
3. That the use to which said building is intended to be devoted is similar to and in harmony with the use of other buildings and structures such as dwellings, churches and limited school facilities.
4. That the aims and purposes of The Woman's Club of Asbury Park tends to the educational, cultural, musical and other civic betterment of the community, and is not in conflict with uses now permitted in said zone.
5. The operation of the Woman's Club for all intents and purposes coincides with the operation of a private ...