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Boys'' Club of Clifton Inc. v. Township of Jefferson

Decided: November 10, 1975.

BOYS' CLUB OF CLIFTON, INC., PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT AND CROSS-APPELLANT,
v.
TOWNSHIP OF JEFFERSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT AND CROSS-RESPONDENT



Allcorn, Kole and Gaulkin.

Per Curiam

[137 NJSuper Page 137] The judge of the Division of Tax Appeals determined that Lot 1A, Block 320, in the Township of

Jefferson, owned by Boys' Club of Clifton, Inc. (Boys' Club), was exempt from real property taxes under N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.6 for the years 1971 and 1972. The municipality appeals from the ensuing judgment.

The provision relied on below, N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.6, exempts from taxation

It is conceded that the 33.25 acres comprising Lot 15, Block 320, on which all of the buildings are located, were acquired by the Boys' Club in 1962, and Lot 1A, Block 320, the 63 acres of vacant land here involved and used in connection with the boys' camp operated by the Boys' Club, was acquired by it in 1966.

The judge held that Lot 1A was necessary to carry out the club purposes and "to further boys' welfare," and accordingly was necessary for the fair enjoyment of the "exempted buildings." He further found that, notwithstanding the receipt of $5,000 rental paid by Snow Bowl, Inc., a "non-charitable company," for use of three or four of the buildings on Lot 15 in 1972-1973, such rental was "for winter months and did not interfere with the operation of the boys' camping activities" and was "very little in comparison to the overall picture," since contributions were the

main source of funds for the operation of the club and profit was not the "motivating factor" in the rental. He thus held that the exclusive use requirement of the statute was met for the year 1972. There were no such rentals in 1971.

We doubt the validity of the ruling below that, notwithstanding the receipt of rentals from an organization such as Snow Bowl, Boys' Club actually and exclusively used the building for charitable purposes within the meaning of the statute. See Princeton Univ. Press v. Princeton , 35 N.J. 209 (1961); Trustees of Y.M. & Y.W. Hebrew Ass'n v. State Bd. of Tax Appeals , 119 N.J.L. 504 (Sup. Ct. 1938), aff'd o.b. 121 N.J.L. 65 (E. & A. 1938) Compare Bloomfield v. Academy of Med. of N.J. , 47 N.J. 358 (1966); Pingry Corp. v. Hillside Tp. , 46 N.J. 457 (1966); Blair Academy v. Blairstown , 95 N.J. Super. 583 (App. Div. 1967), certif. den. 50 N.J. 293 (1967).

Nevertheless, we do not consider it necessary to rule on this question or the issue of whether Lot 1A is necessary for the fair enjoyment of the buildings on Lot 15, for we have concluded that as a matter of law this case is governed by Sisters of Charity v. Cory , 73 N.J.L. 699 (E. & A. 1907).

The statute there involved was quite similar to the present enactment. It provided that "all buildings used for charitable purposes, with the land whereon the same are erected, and which may be necessary for the fair enjoyment thereof, shall be exempt." The Court of Errors and Appeals construed this language as follows:

The primary object of the exemption is the building. Included with it in the exemption is a certain portion of land. -- not all the land held in the same ownership and used for the same purposes, but only the land whereon the building is erected. These words are plainly words of limitation. No land of a charitable organization other than that upon which its building has been erected is exempted from taxation under this provision of the act. If it acquires a tract of land ...


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