CARIBBEAN HOUSE, INC., a New Jersey Corporation, Plaintiff-Respondent,
NORTH HUDSON YACHT CLUB, a New Jersey Corporation, Defendant-Appellant, and The River Palm Terrace, Defendant-Respondent.
Argued March 6, 2013.
Peter J. Koulikourdis argued the cause for appellant (Koulikourdis and Associates, attorneys; Sasha C. Intriago, on the brief (A-3857-11T1); Mr. Koulikourdis, Hackensack, on the briefs (A-4784-11T1)).
Mark Turnamian, Hackensack, argued the cause for respondent Caribbean House, Inc.
Sekas & Abrahamsen, L.L.C., attorneys for respondent The River Palm Terrace, join in the brief filed by appellant.
Before GRALL, KOBLITZ and ACCURSO
[434 N.J.Super. 222] Defendant in these back-to-back appeals, North Hudson Yacht Club (Yacht
Club or the Club), appeals from two final orders in favor of plaintiff Caribbean House, Inc. (Caribbean House), restricting the use of a deeded access easement Caribbean House granted to Yacht Club when it sold the Club its property in 1968. Because we believe the Chancery judge erroneously concluded that the use of the easement to which Caribbean House objected benefitted a property other than that to which the easement is appurtenant, we reverse.
Although we have not been provided the deeds by which the parties took title to their adjacent properties, the critical facts underlying the controversy are undisputed. The two properties were once part of a single rectangular tract bordered on the east by the Hudson River and on the west by River Road in Edgewater. The entire parcel appears to have consisted of approximately eight acres. When Caribbean House acquired the tract in 1961, there was a newly-constructed six-story, sixty-two unit [434 N.J.Super. 223] apartment building and pool located on the western portion, which Caribbean House now operates as a " co-op." Caribbean House subsequently subdivided the parcel, retaining the western portion bordering River Road for itself, and conveying the eastern portion bordering the Hudson River to Yacht Club by deed dated July 11, 1968.
As the sub-divided parcel was landlocked, Caribbean House simultaneously and " as additional consideration" granted Yacht Club an access easement across Caribbean House's retained land as a means of ingress and egress to River Road from Yacht Club's property. Specifically, the recorded Declaration of Easement provides
The " [Caribbean] House," as additional consideration to that paid by the " [Yacht] Club" to [Caribbean House] for the delivery of a deed to the " Club" by the said [Caribbean House] of even date herewith, for certain lands and premises situate off the easterly side of River Road and abutting the most easterly rear line of the lands and premises now owned by " [Caribbean] House," and commonly known as No. 1375 River Road, Edgewater, N.J. does for itself, its successors and assigns, make, declare, set aside and grants an easement or right of way unto the " Club," its successors and assigns, as a means of ingress and egress to River Road from its lands and premises so conveyed to it by the said [Caribbean House], over the 10 foot wide strip of land, the same being shown on a survey
Attached to the document and specifically described by metes and bounds therein. The parcel Caribbean House conveyed to Yacht Club consisted of approximately five and one-quarter acres and included a clubhouse, piers and docks, and a large parking lot, which the parties agree can accommodate over one hundred and fifty cars. The ten-foot-wide easement runs from River Road through Caribbean House's driveway and parking area approximately three hundred and seventy-two feet to the western edge of Yacht Club's property.
Over the ensuing forty years, the easement was used by club members, their guests, boat mechanics and detailers, police and fire department personnel, boat haulers, waste haulers, members of the
Auxiliary Coast Guard, and the Sea Scouts, all without [434 N.J.Super. 224] incident. In 2010, however, Caribbean House objected to Yacht Club allowing cars from a nearby restaurant to park on Yacht Club's property. The River Palm Terrace (River Palm), a restaurant located nearby on River Road, lost certain off-site parking due to construction. One of the owners, John Campbell, an honorary member of Yacht Club, approached the commodore of the Club seeking permission for River Palm to park its customers' cars in Yacht Club's parking lot. Yacht Club agreed, and River Palm's valet service began ...