An application for an election in a certain described part of Ocean Township for the incorporation of the "Village of Loch Arbour" pursuant to R.S. 40:157-1 et seq. was made September 17, 1956, and proof of compliance with the provisions of the order signed that day has been filed showing the publication of the notice of the hearing.
At the hearing on October 19, 1956 a resident taxpayer and the township appeared by attorney in opposition thereto.
Testimony was taken and after the exchange of certain data by counsel the matter was finally submitted to the court on December 14, 1956 with the following three questions to be determined.
1. In proceedings of this nature does this court sit purely as a legislative agent and thereby limited to a determination of compliance with the act?
2. Is the statute constitutional?
3. Assuming the act constitutional, is it limited to the existing villages?
A municipal corporation is a creation of the State and as such its changes must necessarily conform to the pattern established by the Legislature. The Legislature is restricted by the Constitution against passing "private, local or special laws * * *. Regulating the internal affairs of towns and
counties; appointing local offices or commissions to regulate municipal affairs." Const. 1844, Art. IV, Sec. VII, par. 11 (phraseology changed in Const. 1947).
The legislative authority for the application is R.S. 40:157-1 et seq. , the history of which is briefly summarized as follows:
The general and basic village act was adopted by L. 1891, c. 22, p. 33.
Because of the decision In re Ridgefield Park , 54 N.J.L. 288 (Sup. Ct. 1892), the Legislature amended the Village Act by L. 1892, c. 267, p. 416.
The Legislature in L. 1896, c. 117, p. 171, adopted "An Act relating to the formation of boroughs and villages" which provided that no borough or village shall thereafter be incorporated in this state except by special act of the Legislature.
The Legislature by L. 1917, c. 208, p. 684, in an act entitled "An Act to repeal sundry acts relative to municipal corporations," repealed the foregoing L. 1896, p. 171.
The Compiled Statutes 1709-1910, which were compiled under the authority of the New Jersey Legislature in volume 4, page 5727, under the title "Villages," apparently sets forth the entire general act of 1891, as amended, with this beading "General Act of 1891 for the Formation and Government of Villages, with Supplements."
The Cumulative Supplement to N.J. Compiled Statutes 1911-1924 was published under the direction of L. 1923, c. 56, and volume II, page 3783, under section 229 entitled "Villages," indicates the continued existence of L. 1891, page 33, as amended.
The Revised Statutes of New Jersey, R.S. 40:157-1 to R.S. 40:159-5 substantially re-enacted L. 1891 as amended by L. 1892, with a changed phraseology in ...