Sennig v. Ocean City Ass'n

Decision Date30 June 1886
Citation41 N.J.E. 606,7 A. 491
CourtNew Jersey Supreme Court

(Syllabus by the Court.)

On appeal from chancery. See 2 Atl. Rep. 611. Bill for injunction.

J. C. Learning, for appellant, Sennig.

D. J. Pancoast, for respondent, Ocean City Ass'n.

DIXON, J. The defendant is a corporation, organized under the laws of this state for the avowed object of "establishing a summer sea-side resort, founded on Christian principles, and affording religious privileges as well as healthful recreation." For this purpose is acquired a tract of land upon the Atlantic coast, consisting of three sections, distinguished by the letters A, B, and C. It caused section A to be plotted upon a map or plan into rectangular blocks, divided by Atlantic, Ocean, Wesley, Central, Asbury, and West avenues, running nearly parallel with the shore, and by streets numbered from First to Ninth, inclusive, running at right angles with the avenues. These blocks, except the five which lie between Fifth and Sixth streets, were divided into lots, numbered on the plan consecutively from one to nine hundred and ninety-five. Of the five excepted blocks, the two nearest the ocean and the one furthest from it appear on the map as blank rectangles; the other two form a square, bounded by Fifth and Sixth streets and Wesley and Asbury avenues, and intersected by what seem to be footways leading to an inner space, marked "Auditorium."

On May 26, 1880, the defendant held a public sale of lots laid down on this map; before and at which were distributed similar maps, on which, however, the lots were not numbered, but only outlined, and the blocks between Fifth and Sixth streets appeared to be occupied by trees, the square beforementioned being designated "camp ground." At this sale the complainant bought a lot on the south-easterly corner of Sixth street and Wesley avenue, which was conveyed to him as lot No. 698 on the map first mentioned. Subsequently, in July, 1880, and May, 1881, he purchased from the association lots Nos. 700 and 702 on the same plan, thus securing a plot having 105 feet on Sixth street and 150 feet on Wesley avenue, and shortly afterwards he erected thereon a summer dwelling.

Early in 1881 the association published its first annual report, in which is stated: "The space allotted to the encampment is five hundred feet wide, from the thoroughfare to the ocean, with plenty of tenting ground." This description applies to the entire space between Fifth and Sixth streets. In its second annual report, published in 1882, one page contains a diagram, showing the square above referred to substantially as in the original map, and also the adjacent portions of the blocks upon the east and west of that square; the west block being marked "Grove," and the east, "Park." In the fall of 1882 the defendant publicly announced: "After an experiment of two summers with canvas tents the association has taken a new departure. The two squares of ground lying between Wesley avenue and the beach, and between Fifth and Sixth streets, reserved for tenting purposes, will be laid off in lots suitable for the erection of small, neat cottages, similar to those in use at Pitman Grove and elsewhere. The association does not propose at present to erect the cottages, but simply to lease the lots for small rent yearly, with privilege of ten years." The complainant insists that the execution of this scheme will be in derogation of his property rights, and will materially interfere with the enjoyment of his dwelling; and he prays that it may be prevented by injunction. On final hearing, the injunction, which the chancellor had at first granted, was...

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