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Oldfield v. Stoeco Homes, Inc.

Supreme Court of New Jersey
139 A.2d 291 (1958)


Facts

The city of Ocean City, New Jersey, sought to sell for development a number of tracts of land lying below the average grade of the remainder of the city. The tracts were purchased by Stoeco Homes (defendant) and Stoeco was given a deed with conditions requiring Stoeco to fill the lots it purchased, along with other lots that the city continued to own, up to average grade within a year after purchase. The deed contained a provision providing that failure to complete the filling would result in automatic reversion of title to Ocean City. The deed also contained a clause that reserved to Ocean City the right to modify the conditions set forth in the deed. Stoeco ran into difficulties completing the grading and filling, and Ocean City passed a resolution granting an extension of time. When Stoeco again failed to complete the filling by the new deadline, Ocean City passed a second ordinance extending the time even further. Oldfield (plaintiff), a resident of Ocean City, filed suit in the Superior Court to have the resolutions declared void and to demand reversion of the property back to the city. The trial court found in favor of Stoeco, and Oldfield appealed. The Supreme Court took up the case on its own motion.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Burling, J.)

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