LAKEWOOD DEVELOPER WANTS TO BUILD BIGGER HOUSES AND ELIMINATE SHUL

Back on August 31, 2015, Lakewood Township's Zoning Board of Adjustment took the first step to adding a lot of additional traffic congestion to Chestnut Street and New Hampshire Avenue by granting a Use Variance to Congregation Maalos Hatorah, which is owned by Rabbi Aron Perlow, to construct an unspecified number of duplexes in the future extension to the Stamford Meadows development. The Use Variance is only an initial approval and requires the developer to return with a full Site Plan showing a specific number and size of lots.


Once the neighbors got wind of the plans to add more duplexes to the area they took the matter to a Din Torah (Rabbinical Court) and eventually settled on a specific amount of units and to a stipulation that the developer provide a shul for the additional residents.


The Site Plan went through several revisions with a lot of contention from the neighbors, however, eventually, on September 9, 2019, plans were presented to the Zoning Board for a 22 duplex unit extension to Stamford Meadows with the condition that the new road be 32 feet wide (2 feet wider than the original Stamford Meadows development) and that there be a deed restriction that there will be a shul in the basement of one of the new homes.


With these conditions in place, representatives of Stamford Meadows took to the podium to vocally support the application, and the Zoning Board granted their approval to the Site Plan application.

 

Mordechai Eichorn of Sweet Salem, LLC has now purchased the land and he is seeking Zoning Board approval to amend the plans.... to enlarge some of the duplex lots and possibly to eliminate the basement shul.


The application is Appeal 4220 and it is currently on the July 11 Zoning Board meeting agenda.


The legal notice published by the developer claims that the "Applicant is simply requesting some modifications to the already approved plans and not requesting any additional density."


However, the Board Engineer's review letter indicates that "it is [now] unclear whether the Shul [which was a condition of the 2019 approval] is still proposed with the amended application."


We have no idea how the shul can be eliminated once there was a deed restriction placed on it.


New bulk variances are also required with this amended application.


Additionally, several submission waivers are being requested:


1) Architectural plans - so no one will know how many basement apartments will be here


2) Traffic study - so no one will know how much worse the traffic here is now since the Board granted the Use Variance 


3) 

From providing an Environmental Impact Statement


4) From providing drainage calculations. This is only a submission waivers for the public hearing as a (summary) 

stormwater management report must be submitted for review as a condition of approval 

(if granted).



The good news is that with this amended plan, the design has been revised to move the proposed storm basin to the cul-de-sac, and the duplex units away from the cul-de-sac. This is good news as there are typically less cars parked on a cul-de-sac where there are no houses on it, and this makes it easier to turn around in the cul-de-sac.


Back in November 2021, Mr. Eichorn tried his luck on a similar Zoning Board application after he purchased the now-under construction Chestnut Gardens Square development adjacent to Stamford Meadows. He asked the Zoning Board to amend the approval originally granted to Rabbi Perlow to permit for larger houses and a smaller shul and tot lot. The Zoning Board denied the application after a neighbor opposed the application, arguing that bigger houses mean more people and they need a bigger shul and tot lot, not a smaller one.


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