Wilmington Manor v. Grant

Citation105 A.2d 783,34 Del.Ch. 487
PartiesWILMINGTON MANOR, Inc. v. GRANT et al.
Decision Date18 June 1954
CourtCourt of Chancery of Delaware

Page 783

105 A.2d 783
34 Del.Ch. 487
GRANT et al.
Court of Chancery of Delaware, New Castle County.
June 18, 1954.

Albert W. James and William F. Lynch, II, of Morris, James, Hitchens & Williams, Wilmington, for plaintiff.

Joseph A. L. Errigo and Robert C. Barab, Wilmington, for defendants Kenneth M. Grant, Jr., Marie Grant, David T. Blakely and Lovie M. Blakely.

[34 Del.Ch. 488] SEITZ, Chancellor.

Plaintiff, Wilmington Manor, Inc., owner of a vacant lot admittedly subject to residential restrictions of record, seeks by its verified complaint: (1) a declaration that because of the radical change in the surrounding neighborhood the restrictions are no longer operative as to plaintiff's premises, or (2) a declaration that there has been such a radical change in the character of the surrounding neighborhood that the restrictions are modified to the extent that plaintiff's premises may be used for commercial or business purposes.

The defendants who are represented have moved to dismiss the complaint or for summary judgment. One ground of defendants' motion to dismiss is that this court has no jurisdiction because the 'actual controversy' required by the declaratory judgment statute is absent. In order to resolve the issue I must narrate the record facts.

The complaint alleges that the plaintiff is the owner of an unimproved lot in Section D of Wilmington Manor and that this lot is on the northwesterly corner of Jefferson Avenue and duPont Boulevard. It alleges further that this lot is subject to residential restrictive covenants imposed on it and other land in the Manor by the so-called Jensen deed of September 14, 1941. The restrictions are to continue in effect until January 1, 1969 at least, and persons owning any other lots in Wilmington Manor are given the right to enforce compliance.

Page 784

It is alleged that when the restrictions were imposed on plaintiff's premises in 1941, the complexion of the immediately surrounding neighborhood was substantially residential and conformed to the general pattern of the development of Wilmington Manor. It is further alleged that there has been a radical change in the character of the neighborhood with the resultant destruction in the essential purpose of the original restrictions. The complaint then sets forth certain illustrations in support of the allegation, i. e., erection of a motion picture theatre on the adjoining lot to the south; erection of a gasoline filling station on the lot directly across from the premises on Jefferson Avenue; widening of the duPont Boulevard from 80 feet to 200 feet and its separation into a parkway; erection of the Delaware Memorial Bridge with the consequent increase of motor vehicle traffic on the [34 Del.Ch. 489] Boulevard at Wilmington Manor; erection of communities to the...

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2 cases
  • City of Wilmington v. Delaware Coach Co.
    • United States
    • Court of Chancery of Delaware
    • May 4, 1967
    ...Company argues that there is not before the Court an actual controversy which is fundamental to jurisdiction. Wilmington Manor v. Grant, 34 Del.Ch. 487, 105 A.2d 783 (1954). See, also, Marshall v. Hill, 8 Terry 478, 93 A.2d 524 The complaint does not allege in so many words an actual contro......
  • Rollins Intern., Inc. v. International Hydronics Corp.
    • United States
    • Court of Chancery of Delaware
    • August 18, 1972
    ...the pleadings and consider both affidavits and depositions. 2A Moore's Federal Practice, § 12.14. And see Wilmington Manor v. Grant, 34 Del.Ch. 487, 105 A.2d 783 (1954), in which this Court found that plaintiff's pleading stated an actual controversy but, after looking at its answers to int......

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