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Town of Bloomfield v. Academy of Medicine of New Jersey

Decided: May 20, 1965.

TOWN OF BLOOMFIELD, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT,
v.
THE ACADEMY OF MEDICINE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT



Foley, Goldmann and Collester. The opinion of the court was delivered by Foley, J.A.D.

Foley

The Academy of Medicine appeals from the final judgment of the Division of Tax Appeals denying it exemption from taxation of real property owned by it and located in the Town of Bloomfield.

The real property in question consists of two lots with buildings erected thereon. The lot at 307 Belleville Avenue has upon it a building used as a medical library and a barn used for storage. The lot at 317 Belleville Avenue has located thereon a building containing the offices of the Academy as well as meeting rooms, a building used by a caretaker, and a barn used for storage. For the tax year 1960 Bloomfield levied assessments on land and improvements totalling $19,000

on the 317 Belleville Avenue property and $17,200 on the 307 Belleville Avenue property.

The Academy appealed the assessments to the Essex County Board of Taxation on the ground that the properties were exempt from taxation under N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.6, and, following a hearing on the appeal, the board allowed the exemption and set aside the assessments. The town then appealed to the Division of Tax Appeals, which reversed the judgment of the board and reinstated the assessments.

The Academy is incorporated pursuant to N.J.S.A. 15:1-1, as a nonprofit association. It has a membership of over 1,800 physicians and dentists and maintains the largest medical library in the State of New Jersey on the 307 Belleville Avenue lot. This library is not restricted to members of the Academy; it may be used by nonmembers, physicians and dentists, or any member of the general public. The Division found that no testimony was submitted to show the number of non-physicians and dentists who utilized the library facilities; and despite the assertion that the library has made its privileges available to the student body of the Seton Hall College of Medicine and Dentistry, it concluded that the use of the library facilities by the public was "incident to the services available to the membership of a professional society."

At the 317 Belleville Avenue address the Academy has meeting space for specialty groups in medicine, including groups not associated with the Academy, and this space is also utilized by the Academy to sponsor symposia that are open to the general public. There is also a room used to display the historical material of the Academy and of medicine in the State of New Jersey. Furthermore, it is not disputed that none of the Academy's activity is devoted to fostering or furthering legislation to protect or advance the status of or financial structure of the medical and dental profession.

However, the Academy does not have a teaching staff, an enrollment of students, or a regular course of instruction; nor does it award any degrees, diplomas or certificates. Relying on these facts, the Division found that the operation of

the Academy was designed primarily for the benefit of its professional members.

I.

The Academy raises on appeal the same points argued below, viz., that it is exempt from taxation under N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.6 for the reason that the properties are within the category "used for colleges, schools, academies or seminaries," and are actually and exclusively used in the work of and "organized ...


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