KOLLEL KODSHIM PLANNING BOARD APPLICATION POSTPONED

Kollel Kodshim's Lakewood Township Planning Board's application for a "new three-story educational building with a basement with associated off-street parking" is being carried to October 25th.


The property is located at 223 12th Street, between Clifton Avenue and Lexington Avenue.


The 120’ X 150’ (18,000 SF) rectangular property is located within the R-10 Single-Family Residential Zone District which permits schools and shuls.


The site was previously subdivided into 3 lots. One lot was sold and will remain for residential. The new Kollel building will be contained in the remaining 2 lots which will be required to be consolidated as a condition of any Board approval.


The site currently contains a temporary trailer for the Yeshiva.


The proposed project (Application SP 2436) has double frontage along the southern side of Courtney Road and the northern side of Twelfth Street, east of Clifton Avenue.


No sidewalk currently exists along Courtney Road or Twelfth Street but is proposed with this application.


The architectural plans appear to propose:


Basement

2,962 sq feet dining room

265 sq feet Rebbeim dining room

Office

Coffee room


First Floor

3,421 sq feet Beis Medrash

443 sq feet Otzar


Second Floor

1,628 sq feet Ezras Noshim

2 offices


Third Floor

5 dormitory rooms

1,295 sq feet lounge

Showers, laundry room


A parking lot with a two-way access driveway 24 feet wide is proposed from Courtney Road. The parking lot will contain 19 off-street parking spaces, of which 2 will be van-accessible ADA spots. Parking spaces will be 9x18. The parking lot aisle would be 24 feet wide.


Proposed utilities will connect to existing systems within Courtney Road. The application includes provisions for landscaping, site lighting, and stormwater management.


The use is a permitted use in this zone.


The application is seeking several submission waivers including from providing a traffic study prior to the public hearing.


The application is also seeking numerous bulk variances including for the Combined Side Yard Setback, Minimum Front Yard Setback, and for the Maximum Building Coverage.


The application also seeks relief from the Board from buffer requirements as a buffer of 20 feet wide is required from a residential use, and for off-street parking setback as the proposed parking lot is about 3 feet from the sidelines. 


According to the review letter from Board Engineer Terry Vogt, no fencing and landscaping have been proposed to justify the required buffer relief nor the required parking setback relief.


Kollel Kodshim is being represented by Toms River Attorney Robert Shea.


Some time ago, when the yeshiva placed down temporary trailers, the neighbors expressed their displeasure, and the Yeshiva administration summoned the neighbors to a Din Torah by a Beis Din of ZABLA. Oral arguments have been concluded and the parties are awaiting a psak from Beis Din.


In the meantime, the neighbors who have received notice of the Planning Board application have retained Teaneck Attorney Jan Meyer to represent them. Mr. Meyer sent a letter asking the Board to postpone hearing this application until Beis Din issues their psak.


Mr. Meyer wrote:


Dear Mr. Chairman and members of the Board:


This firm was retained today to represent objectors to the above listed application before your Board.


I kindly request an adjournment for the following reasons;

1. On a personal level and as a courtesy to me as counsel, I have a doctor’s appointment on September 20, 2022 in the late afternoon in Bergen County.


The appointment was scheduled more than 6 months ago and it will be difficult to get it re-scheduled within the reasonable near future.

2. On a procedural note, I am also requesting an adjournment since the applicant did bring my clients and others before a Rabbinical Court in Lakewood regarding the very same issues that are to be considered before your Board, as well as making allegations of interference with their ability to build on the premises in question. This may limit or restrict the proceedings with the Planning Board until the decision is rendered by the Rabbinical Court.


It is my understanding that all parties are awaiting a decision to be issued shortly.

It should be noted, that it was not my clients that initiated this proceeding but rather the applicant. The applicant, (another religious Jewish member of the Lakewood Community) should not have a parallel religious proceeding pending while going before a Planning Board that will impede the participation and due process of religious Jewish citizens of Lakewood. It defeats both fairness and logic. If the applicant started the proceeding to obtain a ruling by the Rabbinical court, a decision must be rendered first before moving ahead before the Board.


3. Moreover, I would like the opportunity to bring two professionals before the Board to testify and finding such is difficult on such short notice.


I contacted Mr. Shea and had a pleasant conversation regarding the adjournment request. 


He stated that he did not believe his client would consent to the request.

I thank you in advance and hope that the adjournment will be granted.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Respectfully submitted,

Jan Meyer


The application was on the Board's agenda for today, Tuesday, September 20th. The Board agreed to carry the application to the next hearing on October 25th.


FAA News notes that, as previously reported here on FAA News, back on February 4, 2019, the Fairways HOA filed an emergent Order to Show Cause to restrain the Lakewood Planning Board from beginning to hear The Parke application on a night when their attorney was unavailable. 


Ocean County Superior Court Judge Marlene Ford granted a one month stay noting, “there is a substantial impact on the plaintiffs if they are not permitted to participate in a meaningful way tonight... I’m inclined at this point to restrain the hearing for a shortened period of time... to allow the homeowners... who obviously have an interest in this, to have the opportunity to have a meaningful record developed to affirm their position.”


Earlier this year, Mr. Meyer was successful in getting Judge Ford to toss out a Lakewood Township Zoning Board approval of a Use Variance for homes on undersized lots on Spruce Street after the Board refused to postpone the hearing so the neighbors could have the opportunity to retain their own engineer to review the plans.


As previously reported here on FAA News, Mr. Meyer is also the attorney representing a Lakewood resident who is currently suing the Lakewood Township Zoning Board after the Board refused to postpone their hearing and approval of a cell tower facility on top of the Senior Citizen resident building on Clifton Avenue and 5th Street, after a neighbor requested to postpone the meeting until he could retain a professional to present his health concerns regarding the proposed cell tower.



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