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Smith v. Borough of Northvale

Decided: January 9, 1957.

IRVING SMITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BOROUGH OF NORTHVALE, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, IN THE COUNTY OF BERGEN AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY; NICHOLAS DE LAURA; EARL GUGGER; CARMINE FIRENZE; FREDERICK ALBELLI; ELMO BODRATO AND NICHOLAS PAGLIERI, DEFENDANTS



Grimshaw, J.s.c.

Grimshaw

On May 10, 1956 the governing body of the Borough of Northvale, purportedly acting under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:60-26(a), authorized the sale of the property in controversy. The conditions of sale contained, among others, the following provisions:

"1. That the said property will be sold for not less than the amount set forth in the resolution and advertisement of sale.

12. All sales shall be subject to confirmation by the Mayor and Council of Northvale, who reserve the right to accept or reject any or part of the bids for said property.

13. The property described in this resolution shall be restricted to use for educational purposes only. The purchaser shall be required to commence construction of a building for the education of children within two (2) years or the property shall revert to the municipality.

It is deemed for the best interests of the municipality that the erection of private or parochial schools on this property is a benefit to the welfare of the community."

Additionally, a minimum price of $1,000 was set.

On June 14, 1956 the plaintiff, through his agent, offered $2,000 for the land. That offer was the highest received at the sale. Thereafter the borough council rejected all bids as not being in the best interests of the Borough of Northvale.

The plaintiff then commenced this action, seeking a judgment compelling the borough to convey the land to him. The borough resisted, charging that the sale was void since there was a minimum price set as well as a provision reserving to the borough the right to reject all bids.

The section of the statute affecting this controversy is as follows:

N.J.S.A. 40:60-26:

"The governing body of any municipality may sell any lands or buildings or any right or interest therein not needed for public use. All such sales or disposition * * * shall be authorized ...


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