UPDATE: JUDGE FINES LAKEWOOD'S LAKE TERRACE BANQUET HALL FOR VIOLATING COURT ORDERS

As earlier reported here on FAA News (https://www.faanews.com/2022/06/lawsuit-seeks-to-shut-lake-terrace.html), there has been an ongoing year-and-a-half long legal land use saga regarding the famous Lake Terrace wedding and concert hall in Lakewood which began after Clayton Associates, an industrial neighbor, discovered that Lake Terrace never received Township Zoning Board approval to build a wedding hall and filed a lawsuit seeking to shut it down.

On February 2, 2021, Ocean County Superior Court Judge Marlene Ford signed an Order permitting Lake Terrace to continue hosting weddings, but with certain restrictions including limiting the occupancy to 712 seated guests, barring any outdoor activities or events on the banquet hall property, and requiring all parking to be maintained on-site only.

Back in April 2022, the parties were in court after Clayton Associates charged that Lake Terrace violated the court order by hosting an outdoor Lag Baomer concert. Lake Terrace's attorney responded to the claim, stating that his clients had "no knowledge" of the Lag Baomer event held in their parking lot and that they never rented out their parking lot for that event.

At that hearing the judge denied to find Lake Terrace in violation of the court order, but said that if there is further non-compliance, she will entertain a motion to shut down Lake Terrace completely.

A few weeks ago, Clayton Associates again filed a Motion to Enforce Litigants Rights, seeking to completely shut down Lake Terrace after a Chuppah was held outdoors. 

According to Toms River Attorney Robert C. Shea who represents Clayton, on the evening of June 9th his clients noticed an outdoor chuppah getting set up in one of their private parking lots. They immediately called the police to report the trespass. The police arrived and the chuppah was moved to the Paco Way roadway, which the police shut down to permit the chuppah to take place.

At the hearing in Superior Court on Friday, the owners of Lake Terrace were represented by Red Bank Attorney Afiyfa Ellington, Greenwald Caterers was represented by Attorney Jerry Dasti (who also serves as the Lakewood Township Zoning Board attorney), and Lakewood Township was represented by Red Bank Attorney Jean L. Cipriani.

Lakewood Township's attorney - who is funded on our taxpayer's dime - admitted to the judge that the Township will simply sit by and wait for the judge to decide whether or not Lake Terrace's banquet hall is a permitted use under the Township's ordinances as Township officials are not interested in enforcing their own Zoning ordinances.

Regarding the charges that the police department permitted and even aided the outdoor chuppah by shutting the road to traffic, Attorney Cipriani simply told the judge that "anyone - including these Plaintiff's - can call the Police Department whenever they need their assistance".

Attorney Dasti beseeched the judge not to shut down Lake Terrace, noting that Greenwald Caterers who is only a tenant is the one who stands the lose everything and go bankrupt if their business is halted.

Attorney Dasti also told the judge that Lake Terrace has recently filed an application to the Zoning Board to finally legalize, and as such the judge should look at them favorably.

In response, Attorney Shea reminded the judge that Lake Terrace also filed an application to the Zoning Board last year but then withdrew the application prior to ever being heard before the Board.
  
Attorney Ellington attempted to tell the judge that holding the chuppah in the street was not a violation of the court order, but rather, a creative way to work-around the court order restrictions.

At the end of the hearing Judge Ford declined to completely shut down Lake Terrace, but she did find them in violation of the court order and she sanctioned them $5,000 plus the legal fees incurred by Clayton in filing the motion. Judge Ford also ordered that no further outdoor events or gatherings of any sort at all take place outdoors within 1,000 feet of Lake Terrace.




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