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Antonelli v. Planning Board of Borough of Waldwick

Decided: June 7, 1963.


Conford, Gaulkin and Kilkenny. The opinion of the court was delivered by Gaulkin, J.A.D.


The Law Division granted summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs in this action in lieu of prerogative writs (77 N.J. Super. 119) and defendant appeals.

Plaintiffs' complaint alleged that they applied to defendant, pursuant to the Waldwick zoning ordinance, for approval of plaintiffs' proposed parking area, to be used to service a store building which plaintiffs plan to build, and that defendant refused the approval on the following grounds: "a) The parking lot would extend about 179 feet into a residential zone, but the law only permits a 150-foot extension, requiring about 12 parking spaces to be dropped to conform. b) The ingress and egress routes are not appropriate and, c) Plans did not include outdoor lighting."

The complaint alleged that "the action of the Planning Board * * * is unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious * * * in violation of the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance * * * and * * * is * * * a * * * deprivation of plaintiffs' rights under the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution of the United States of America."

Defendant's answer seemed to deny, pro forma , that the reasons for the denial were couched in the language quoted above. The answer did not set forth the defendant's version of the reasons, but the affidavit of Daniel Manning, a member of the planning board, submitted in answer to the motion for summary judgment, said: "* * * the Board voted to deny approval * * * for the reasons, among others, that the proposed parking area extended too far into the adjacent residential zone immediately to the north of the applicant's property, that the proposed entrances and exits for ingress and egress were not in conformity with the Borough zoning ordinance and were not, in the judgment of the Board, adequate or appropriate to insure traffic safety and protect the residential properties on Dora Avenue, and, that there was no lighting plan disclosed in said site plan."

It is important to note that nowhere in the record do we find the resolution of the planning board which is under

attack, or any official memorial or minutes of its action. It appears that there was a hearing or hearings at which plaintiffs and objectors appeared, but very little of what transpired appears in the data submitted to the trial judge on the motion for summary judgment. That data includes no evidence with reference to traffic safety and the protection of adjacent residence zones. And, of course, there is no proof as to what findings the defendant made, and whether they were made on the basis of testimony or the knowledge of the planning board or both. Consequently, the trial judge treated the issues as questions of law for the determination of which he did not need more facts than appeared in the data before him.

After considering the pleadings, affidavits and exhibits, the trial judge held that the zoning ordinance does not require outdoor lighting, but only that if any such lighting is provided it must be so arranged as to reflect the light away from all adjoining residences. With this we agree.

The remaining questions revolve about section 607 of the zoning ordinance, which provides:

"Any person desiring to establish a parking area required for a business use in a residence zone shall submit plans to the Planning Board showing the location, size, shape, design, landscape, curb, cuts [sic] and other features of the parking lot. The establishment and operation of a restricted parking area in such parts of any residence district that abut a business district is permitted where such areas extend continuously from such business zone for a distance not to exceed 150 feet. All such parking areas in all residence zones may then be authorized , subject to the following conditions:

Each entrance to and exit from such parking lot shall be at least 20 feet distant from any adjacent property located in any residence zone, and the location and design of entrances, exits , surfacing, landscaping, marking and lighting shall be subject to approval of the Planning Board to insure adequate relation to traffic safety and protection of the adjacent residence zones." (Emphasis ours)

Plaintiff's property fronts on the northerly side of Prospect Street, beginning at a point about 90 feet east of its intersection with the easterly side of Franklin Turnpike. Prospect Street and ...

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