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State v. Baker

Decided: April 17, 1978.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DENNIS BAKER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from the Union County Court.

Lora, Seidman and Milmed. The opinion of the court was delivered by Milmed, J.A.D.

Milmed

[158 NJSuper Page 537] This appeal stems from defendant's three convictions in the Plainfield Municipal Court for permitting more than one "family"*fn1 to reside in his home, located in an R-2 Residence District, in violation of the local zoning regulation.*fn2 He was again found guilty on review by the Union County Court which heard the case de novo upon the transcript of the sound recordings of the municipal court trial. N.J.S.A. 2A:3-6; R. 3:23-1, 3:23-2 and 3:23-8(a). Both courts imposed the same sentences, viz. , a

fine of $200 on the first summons (No. 3006) and a fine of $25 on each of the remaining two summonses (No. 3028 and No. 3106). In the municipal court, payment of the fines on summonses Nos. 3028 and 3106 was suspended, while in the County Court payment of the fines on summonses Nos. 3006 and 3028 was suspended.*fn3 Court costs of $10 were imposed by each court.

On this appeal defendant contends that (1) the definition of "Family" as set forth in the Plainfield zoning ordinance is unconstitutional, and (2) the occupants of his home "constitute a single non-profit housekeeping unit."

The pertinent facts may be briefly summarized. Defendant Dennis Baker and his wife own a dwelling house at 715 Sheridan Avenue in Plainfield which is in an R-2 one-family residence zone as established by the local zoning ordinance, ยง 17:5-2. The basic (unconditional) "permitted uses" in the zone are the same as those for the R-1 residence district, viz. ,

(1) A one-family detached dwelling not to exceed one dwelling on each lot, including the renting of rooms to not more than two (2) boarders or lodgers.

(2) Buildings, structures and uses owned and operated by the City.

Section 17:3-1(a)(17) of the zoning ordinance defines the term "Family" as used therein to mean:

One (1) or more persons occupying a dwelling unit as a single non-profit housekeeping unit. More than four (4) persons exclusive of domestic servants, not related by blood, marriage, or adoption, shall not be considered to constitute a family.

In addition to himself, his wife and their three children, other persons who occupied the dwelling during the period covered by the three summonses, from September 10 through

October 8, 1976, at the weekly rate for room and board of $40 per adult and $20 per child, were: Mr. and Mrs. Conata and their three children; Mr. and Mrs. Manderson and their two children, and Mrs. Norris and her child. For a brief period the Conatas moved out so that Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and their three children could move in. The Conatas returned to the house after the ...


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