LAKEWOOD PLANNING BOARD TURNS BLIND EYE TO DEVELOPERS HYPOCRISY

The land use attorneys who often represent the developers at Lakewood's planning and zoning boards are very good at manipulating the Boards to believe whatever serves their needs for each specific application.


And the Boards go along with them, even when there is a room full of objectors.


This week, as earlier reported here on FAA News, https://www.faanews.com/2022/05/lakewood-planning-board-continues-to.html Bnos Yaakov received Site Plan approval from the Planning Board to construct a parking lot on Cathedral Drive. Many neighbors of this residential cul-de-sac who were concerned about traffic and pedestrian safety on their cul-de-sac implored the Board to, at the very least, demand that the applicant to redesign the parking lot to have access only to and from County Line Road.


The Board, however, accepted Attorney Adam Pfeffer's claim that the parking lot is a permitted use and so their hands are tied.


False!


Parking lots (as the primary use on the lot) are actually not a permitted use in the R-15 zone.


Here to support our argument is.... the very same attorney Attorney Adam Pfeffer, Planning Board Attorney John Jackson and former Chairman Yechiel Herzl.


Here's the breakdown:


This is an excerpt from the wording of the legal notice published by Bnos Yaakov:


On the 24th day of May , 2022 the Lakewood Township Planning Board will hold a hearing on the application of Congregation Bnos Yaakov... Applicant is seeking preliminary and final major site plan approval to construct a 30 space parking area on existing Lot 3 in Block 1.01. The parking is to service the existing school on Lot 3 in Block 1 and Lot 5 in Block 1.01 which is located in the R-15 zoning district. The parking lot is an ancillary use to the proposed school and schools are a permitted use in the zone....


The notice states that the parking lot is an ancillary use to the proposed school and schools are a permitted use in the zone. This wording was deliberately used to imply that the parking lot should be deemed a permitted use.


However, the parking lot is not on the same lot as the school. It is on a separate lot adjacent to the school, and therefore, despite schools being a permitted use, this parking lot should not be a permitted use, and therefore the Planning Board lacked jurisdiction as a parking lot would require a Use Variance from the Zoning Board.


Now let's take a look at a previous application with similar players.


On March 3, 2020, the Planning Board heard an application for a Change of Use for a Shul on Circle Place. The applicant was represented by Attorney Adam Pfeffer. One of the neighbors said he was concerned that the adjoining lot would be converted into an additional parking lot for the shul, and he was concerned about many cars on the road.


In response, Attorney Adam Pfeffer, as well as Planning Board Attorney John Jackson and former Chairman Yechiel Herzl all said that "parking lots (as a primary use) are not permitted uses in this zone and therefore a parking lot would require a Use Variance from the Zoning Board"!


The Planning Board should have told Bnos Yaakov the same thing - that parking lots are not a permitted use. This would have given the neighbors a lot more leverage to negotiate a safer location for the parking lot for the school.


However, Attorney Adam Pfeffer manipulated the Board to believe whatever served the will for each specific application, and the Planning Board happily turned a blind eye.


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SEE BELOW: Minutes from the March 2020 meeting where Attorney Adam Pfeffer, Planning Board Attorney John Jackson, and former Chairman Yechiel Herzl agree that parking lots as a primary use is not a permitted use





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