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Morris v. Township of Elk

Decided: April 7, 1956.

RALPH R. MORRIS, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
TOWNSHIP OF ELK, IN THE COUNTY OF GLOUCESTER AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANT



Civil action in lieu of prerogative writs.

Cafiero, J.s.c.

Cafiero

This is an action in lieu of prerogative writs to review the legality and reasonableness of an ordinance regulating the parking and location of automobile trailers and regulating the licensing, location, erection, maintenance and conduct of automobile trailer camps and providing a penalty for the violation thereof, in the Township of Elk in so far as it affects the plaintiffs.

Plaintiff James O. Keane is the owner of a vacant lot having a curtilage of 50' by 100' which he has leased to plaintiff Ralph R. Morris, who has parked thereon a self-contained house trailer owned and occupied by him and his family.

Defendant contends that the placing of a single trailer on any property in the township constitutes the lot a trailer camp and subjects the owner thereof to the provisions of the ordinance.

It is evident that the Township of Elk is seeking to regulate the use of trailers as dwellings within its boundaries.

By dissecting the ordinance, it appears that it may be divided into two distinct regulatory measures.

I. It purports to regulate the parking and location of automobile trailers, which it defines as "a vehicle or structure so designed and constructed in such manner as will permit occupancy thereof as sleeping quarters for one or more persons, * * *" and by Section 3(a) declares it "unlawful, within the limits of the Township of Elk, for any person to park any trailer on any street, alley, or highway, or other public places, or on any tract of land owned by any person, occupied or unoccupied , within the Township of Elk, except as provided in this ordinance." That is, Section 3(c)(a), "A trailer shall not be parked or occupied on any lot situate outside of an approved trailer camp if the same is to be used as living quarters." Section 4: "If the wheels are removed from any trailer and it is attached to the land in any permanent or semi-permanent manner, a permit must be obtained from the building inspector and all the requirements of the building, land subdivision, plumbing, sanitary, health, zoning and electrical ordinances must be complied with."

II. It also purports to regulate and license, location, erection, maintenance and conduct of automobile trailer camps and provide a penalty for the violation thereof. A "trailer camp" is defined as "any park, trailer park, trailer court, court, camp, site, lot, parcel, or tract of land designed, maintained or intended for the purpose of supplying a location or accommodations for any trailer coach or trailer coaches and upon which any trailer coach or trailer coaches are parked. * * *" The ordinance then proceeds to declare it "unlawful for any person to establish, operate or maintain, or permit to be established, operated or maintained upon any property owned or controlled by him, a trailer camp * * * without having first secured a license therefor." It sets forth the method of applying for a license, the application requirements, the fees to be charged for a license, both an annual and a use fee for each unit, declaring the same to be necessary for revenue purposes as well as

for "inspection, supervision, public health, fire, police protection and similar governmental functions, and for the additional cost to the Township of furnishing and maintaining educational facilities for children of the occupants of the trailers." It sets up the specifications for the camp plan, the water supply, service buildings and accessory accommodations, waste and garbage disposal and management. It provides for inspection and enforcement of the ordinance, revocation and suspension of a license and public ...


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