McNally v. Middletown Tp.

Citation442 A.2d 1075,182 N.J.Super. 622
PartiesEthel McNALLY and Patricia Dolan, Petitioners-Respondents, v. TOWNSHIP OF MIDDLETOWN, Respondent-Appellant.
Decision Date09 February 1982
CourtNew Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division

Helen J. Lukievics, Newark, for respondent-appellant (Crummy, Del Deo, Dolan & Purcell, Newark, attorneys; Wilson, Holden, McLeod & Fasano, Highlands, of counsel; Robert E. McLeod, Highlands, on the brief).

Jerome P. Keelen, Nutley, for petitioners-respondents (Jane B. Cordo, Executive Director, Ocean-Monmouth Legal Services, Inc., Toms River, attorney; Jerome P. Keelen of counsel and on the letter brief).

Before Judges MICHELS, McELROY and J. H. COLEMAN.

The opinion of the court was delivered by

MICHELS, P. J. A. D.

Respondent Township of Middletown appeals from a final decision of the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, State of New Jersey, awarding relocation assistance payments to petitioners Ethel McNally (McNally) and Patricia Dolan (Dolan) pursuant to the provisions of the Relocation Assistance Act (N.J.S.A. 20:4-1 et seq.) and the Relocation Assistance Law of 1967 (N.J.S.A. 52:31B et seq.).

In 1977 McNally and Dolan vacated their respective homes after the buildings in which they resided were declared unfit for human habitation by respondent's building inspector. In each instance the building inspector notified petitioner that the building was unfit and therefore condemned. He placed a notice on each building reflecting condemnation and ordered petitioners to vacate the premises. Furthermore, the building inspector threatened legal action in the event that petitioners failed to comply with his orders. Pursuant to the building inspector's orders, petitioners vacated their respective buildings and thereafter applied for relocation and rental assistance payments under the foregoing statutes.

The Monmouth County Board of Social Services determined that petitioners were eligible for relocation and rental assistance payments. Each received payments through December 1979, when respondent refused to make any further payments. Respondent's refusal to make further payments followed a change in funding of the relocation assistance program. This change resulted from legislation which reduced state funding for the program from 100% to 50%; as a result, municipalities were required to pay 50% of the program's cost. On appeal to the Department of Community Affairs, the administrative law judge found that petitioners were "displaced persons" within the meaning of the relocation assistance statutes, and that respondent was legally obligated to continue relocation assistance payments. The Commissioner adopted the findings and recommendations of the administrative law judge as the Department's final decision and this appeal followed.

Respondent contends that petitioners do not qualify as "displaced persons" within the meaning of the Relocation Assistance Act and the Relocation Assistance Law of 1967 and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto. We disagree.

N.J.S.A. 20:4-3(c) of the Relocation Assistance Act defines the term "displaced person" as follows:

c. "Displaced person" means any person who, on or after the effective date of this act, moves from real property, or moves his personal property from real property, as a result of the acquisition of such real property, in whole or in part, or as the result of the written order of the acquiring agency to vacate real property, for a program or project undertaken by a taking agency; and solely for the purposes of sections 4 a. and b. and section 7 of this act, as a result of the acquisition of or as the result of the written order of the acquiring agency to vacate other real property, on which such person conducts a business or farm operation, for such program or project.

And N.J.S.A. 20:4-14 of the same act further provides:

A person who moves or discontinues his business or moves other personal property, or moves from his dwelling on or after the effective date of this act as the direct result of code enforcement activities, or a program of rehabilitation of buildings conducted pursuant to a governmental program, is deemed to be a displaced person for the purposes of this act.

N.J.S.A. 52:31B-3(e) of the Relocation Assistance Law of 1967 defines the term "displaced" as follows:

(e) The term "displaced" shall mean required to vacate any real property, or any tenancy therein, pursuant to any lawful order or notice of any State agency or unit of local government on account of the acquisition of any real property for a public use, or on account of a program of law enforcement, or on account of a program or project for the voluntary rehabilitation of dwelling units.

It cannot seriously be questioned that petitioners vacated their respective buildings pursuant to a building code enforcement. The record shows that the building in which each resided was found to be uninhabitable and therefore condemned. The building inspector ordered all occupants, including petitioners, to vacate the buildings. In the circumstances, petitioners were properly found to be displaced persons within the purview of these statutes.

Furthermore, the argument, which respondent now makes for the first time on appeal, that the Relocation Assistance Act, N.J.S.A. 20:4-1 et seq., does not apply where, as here, the municipality does not acquire the property but merely condemns the...

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7 cases
  • Dukes v. Durante
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • February 7, 1984
    ...... McNally v. Middletown Township, 182 N.J.Super. 622, 625, 442 A.2d 1075 (1982). In the face of these amendments and the legislative history, the defendants' ......
  • Carlie v. Morgan
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • June 25, 1996
    ...1368, 1375-76 (1984); Lau v. Bautista, 61 Haw. 144, 598 P.2d 161, 166-67 (1979) (per curiam); McNally v. Township of Middletown, 182 N.J.Super. 622, 442 A.2d 1075, 1077 (N.J.Super.Ct.App.Div.1982). These cases, however, are easily distinguishable and are therefore not helpful in analyzing t......
  • Kiziee v. Camden Cnty. Dep't of Health
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • May 23, 2019
    ...condemnation, or voluntary rehabilitation programs, but also by building code enforcement activities. McNally v. Middletown Twp., 182 N.J. Super. 622, 625-626 (App. Div. 1982). The Relocation Law provides for relocation assistance payments "to persons or businesses displaced on account of a......
  • Herrera v. Township of South Orange Village
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • December 28, 1993
    ...of Community Dev., City of Passaic, 217 N.J.Super. 592, 598, 526 A.2d 725 (App.Div.1987); McNally v. Township of Middletown, 182 N.J.Super. 622, 625-26, 442 A.2d 1075 (App.Div.1982). The language of N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1g does not expand the Act's On the other hand, the language of the Reloca......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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