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The Lakewood Development Corporation voted today on a revised map of the boundaries of the Lakewood Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) to include many more businesses in town.

New Jersey's UEZ Program was enacted in 1983, in the Department of Community Affairs, to foster an economic climate that revitalizes designated urban communities and stimulates their growth by encouraging businesses to develop and create private sector jobs through public and private investment. It is known mostly for the half-off discount it provides off the sales tax in participating businesses.

A portion of Lakewood Township is included in a zone in the UEZ program.

The UEZ Program offers participating businesses incentives that encourage business growth and stimulate local economies, including a 50% reduced sales tax, tax free purchases on certain items such as capital equipment, facility expansions, and upgrades, and financial assistance from agencies such as NJEDA.

The Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) Reform Bill, signed into law in August 2021 by Acting Governor Sheila Oliver, requires all municipalities to, every five years, perform a full-scale assessment of what it deems to be its qualified zone areas; and this is why the LDC voted today on their new zone development plan.

With today's formal vote, the LDC will submit the changes to the Urban Enterprise Zone Authority for approval and adoption into the official state UEZ mapping system and the changes are expected to go into effect in a few months.

The LDC employed the services of Remington and Vernick Engineering (RVE), who also serve as the Lakewood Township, and Planning and Zoning Board Engineers, to draw up the map.

Back in June, the LDC awarded RVE the contract for Professional Planning and Engineering Services in assisting in restructuring the UEZ map for "an amount not to exceed $9,920".

According to the LDC Resolution, "the LDC enlisted the assistance of local business professionals to give input on current and future commercial development in the Lakewood UEZ area; and the LDC made public announcements to encourage local Lakewood township businesses not currently located within the Lakewood UEZ zone boundaries to express their desire to be included in the zone and the LDC subsequently received many requests".

LDC Executive Director noted that the LCSC was instrumental in reaching out to businesses around town for their input, and that Township officials also shared their knowledge of locations of future businesses.

Also today, the LDC awarded a $25,000 contract to Duvy's Media for the Development of a Business Customer Web Portal for the UEZ program.

The UEZ Customer Web Portal will be a state of the art business customer web portal that will improve the customer experience, make interaction between Lakewood UEZ and its registered businesses more robust, seamless, efficient, and convenient.

The portal will enable UEZ Registered Businesses to perform most UEZ related tasks, interact with UEZ staff in an electronic venue as an added enhancement to the current in person and telephone methods and to view account and other UEZ information.

The Customer Web Portal will offer UEZ registered businesses a web portal to allow them to perform all the functions they are currently forced to perform manually. Businesses will be able to access forms, make application to loans, grants, and other programs, make payments, access account information, general program information similar to a traditional bank website.

The $25,000 contract includes all programming, design and related work which is billed at $195 per hour and $295 per hour for consulting, as well as maintaining the site for one year.

The contract award amount is below the threshold for the requirement to be publicly bid out in accordance with the Local Public Contracts Law, therefore, the contract was awarded under the "Non Fair and Open Process" to Duvy’s Media, who is "a trusted and experience vendor that developed and maintains Lakewood township’s website", stated David Klein.

In compliance with the provisions of the Non Fair and Open Process, Duvys Media LLC has completed and submitted a Business Entity Disclosure Certification which certifies that it has not made any reportable contributions to a political or candidate committee in the Lakewood Township Committee in the previous one year, and that the contract will prohibit them from making any reportable contributions through the term of the contract.

One final update - with good news - regarding the LDC:

We previously reported here on FAA News that the LDC had some fixing up to do after their clearly ignored public comment on matters on their agenda.

We noted at the time that the LDC scored least of all Township boards in transparency because they only posted the statutorily required notice of their meetings and 1 page version of the agenda prior to the meeting. They only post resolutions after the meeting - by then it is too late to comment on them.

In contrast, the Township Committee posts online the full packet with the resolutions they will vote on, complete with maps and descriptions, 2-3 days prior to every meeting. Additionally, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board (after being sued on the issue) post online the plans for all applications prior to their meetings. Even the Lakewood Industrial Commission posts the full packet with resolutions, bills, and statement of accounts prior to their meetings.

According to emails obtained by FAA, complaints about the lack of posting resolutions online prior to the meeting was already brought to David Klein's attention back in August 2020. 

At the time, David Klein responded in an email:

"I see we need to post the meeting packet on the township website. The full meeting packet is now on the UEZ department page including those resolutions."

Following the last non-transparent meeting, a member of the public followed up with David Klein on this issue, asking him why he still does not post the full meeting packet.

Mr. Klein responded with an outlandish claim that "I've reviewed the township website and I do not see this done by other departments either". He then copied LDC attorney Sean Kean for input.

Attorney Kean responded that LDC's current practice does comply with all the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act which requires the posting of the agenda, but not any supporting documentation, 48 hours prior to the meeting.

After the member of the public responded by giving Mr. Klein a virtual tour of the website and proving that indeed, the LDC scores least of all Boards in transparency, Mr. Klein then flustered that he would "confer with the Township Manager if we should change our current protocol for posting meeting information."

We are happy to report that after following up on the matter, David Klein has responded that "we have updated our policy and we will post the resolutions along with the agenda"!

The LDC has kept their word and for the past 2 meetings, they uploaded their full meeting packet prior to the meeting!

The LDC has also - following our exposure - made their process for accepting OPRA requests more transparent.

The Lakewood Township clerk accepts and processes OPRA for requests for all municipal departments and Boards - except the LDC.

The LDC has their own OPRA form which was, oddly, not posted on their website page. In fact, on the bottom of their page at, it has a contact box and on top it used to state that "OPRA requests must be sent to the Township Clerk". This is in fact incorrect, as the Township Clerk has responded saying "The township doesn't maintain Lakewood Developement Council records. Please submit your request for LDC records by clicking the link provided".

This lack of transparency was not only unhelpful and confusing, it also caused delays in obtaining access to public records - because it can take several days for the Township Clerk to give this response.

We are thrilled to report that, following our earlier exposure on the issue, the LDC has now posted a link to their OPRA form directly on their website. They also corrected the link in the contact box to say "if this is an OPRA request you must use the LDC/UEZ OPRA Request Form" and by clicking on that link you can download the correct OPRA form!

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Anonymous said...

I'm going to keep my attention on David Klein. After all I've seen over the past several weeks, I'm not confident the LDC is serious about mending its ways. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

David Klein would make any Rosh Yeshiva kvell with nachas. He is כל כולו devoted to every single one of the LDC board members and all their taxpayer funded money making enterprises. He is truly a choshuv בעל הבית who would make an amazing Yeshiva Board President.