This proceeding originated as a complaint in lieu of prerogative writ. Plaintiffs demanded a restraining order to enjoin the defendants from proceeding with plans to build a helistop, and such other relief as was deemed just and proper under the circumstances.
The question of whether a restraining order should issue to enjoin defendants was decided in favor of defendants on May 10, 1972. This decision was followed by an agreement by the parties for final determination of all issues in the form of cross-motions for summary judgment.
Defendant Garden State Farms, Inc. is the owner of premises located in the northeast section of the Borough of Hawthorne at and adjacent to the boundary dividing the borough from the Township of Wyckoff, which boundary is also the dividing line between the Counties of Passaic and Bergen. Said property is known as Lot 4 in Block 286 and is part of a large parcel or tract of land principally located in the Township of Wyckoff and County of Bergen, on which the defendant operates an extensive dairy products business.
Defendant owns some 85 or more stores in northern New Jersey which sell milk, dairy products and related products. The source of the supplies for their stores comes from a number of plants located in New Jersey, New York and in
Pennsylvania. There is one in Phillipsburg, New Jersey; one in Dimock, Pennsylvania; one in Lemon, Pennsylvania; one in Scranton, Pennsylvania; one in Springville, Pennsylvania; one in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania; one in Warwick, New York, and another in Poland, New York, so that the supplies that are brought to the main plant in Hawthorne come from various areas.
The products are extremely perishable and are subject to frequent examination and inspection by various state health agencies. This requires the people at the main plant location in Hawthorne to have constant contact with the various mentioned plants. The equipment used at these various plants is extremely sophisticated, mechanized equipment and is subject to frequent breakdown because of the high rate of production for their use. Someone has to make an inspection, someone has to make repairs and someone has to meet a board of health inspector at one of these plants. The method of modern transportation to these various plant areas has to be either by motor vehicle or by a more modern sophisticated method of transportation such as by airplane and helicopter. Of course, Garden State Farms, Inc. is using the helicopter much in the same way that you or I would be using a car. It is to facilitate the operation and management of their business. It is to be used exclusively, according to the briefs, by the personnel of Garden State Farms. It is not for public hire.
The portion of said premises which lies in the Borough of Hawthorne, known as Lot 4 in Block 286, is located at the intersection of Hopper Street and Braen Avenue and is in the I-1 Industrial Zone of the borough, as described in ordinance 1175, and has been for many years in the Industrial Zone as described in ordinance 626, revised and amended by ordinance 1175.
Plaintiffs are all neighboring residents in the general area of Braen Avenue adjacent to or nearby the property of defendant Garden State Farms, Inc. The area north of Braen Avenue and west of Hopper Street is partially within R-2
Residential Zone and R-1 Residential Zone, and the area south of Braen Avenue is partially within the I-1 Industrial Zone and partially within the R-2 Residential Zone.
Defendant Garden State Farms, Inc., apparently intending to construct and maintain a landing pad suitable for use by a helicopter on a portion of Lot 4 in Block 286, submitted a statement of such intention to the board of commissioners of Hawthorne by letter dated October 6, 1971. Upon the advice of defendant Garden State Farms, Inc., and the general understanding of applicable administrative procedures, the commissioners understood and believed that an application to the Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics, State of New Jersey, for licensing of such helipad must be accompanied by a statement or certificate of appropriate local officials regarding either the granting of a variance, or in the event no variance is required, a statement of permission. In response to such understanding the board of commissioners did on October 6, 1971, at its regular meeting, adopt a resolution granting such permission. Thereafter, numerous objections were received from neighboring landowners, including plaintiffs, primarily directed to the safety of the proposed operation of the helipad.
The State of New Jersey, Department of Aeronautics, will conduct a public hearing as required by law in conjunction with an application for a helistop, which public hearing will be conducted in the Borough of Hawthorne before issuing the permit for the private helipad. The hearing to be held by the Department of Transportation will concern itself with the safety aspect of the use of the property in question as a private helipad.
To date no application for a building permit for the construction of such facilities has been submitted to the Borough of Hawthorne, and to the knowledge of borough officials no license or permit for the operation of the heliport has been granted by the Department of Transportation, Division ...