Join Our Telegram Channel


As previously reported here on FAA News, Lakewood Township's zoning ordinances currently do not permit stand-alone banquet halls or banquet halls in schools. The Township's zoning ordinances only permit "catering facilities" to be included in shuls, but not in schools.

Huh? Are you surprised? Then how did they all get there?

The answer is that one of two things are done:

1) The developers of schools solemnly testify -  under oath - to the Planning Board that there will not be any Simcha Hall (as in the case of this application), and then they build them in broad daylight.

2) The developers of schools testify to the Planning Board that the banquet hall is "permitted as an accessory use to the school". The definition and permissibility of "an accessory use" is very complex and has landed numerous schools such as Bnos Brocha and Beis Reuven Kaminetz, (see here and here) in expensive and lengthy lawsuits - and even to get shut down under Court order, and loss of harmony with the residential neighbors who are inconvenienced by the additional traffic and parking nightmares they endure.

The result of either mehalech (situation) is a bunch of banquet halls in residential neighborhoods with insufficient parking and inadequate buffers, which are truly unfair to the neighbors.

Until now, as first reported here on FAA News, the Lakewood Township Planning Board, under pressure from school developers, turned a blind eye to simcha halls and made believe that they simply were not included in school applications. 

All that may now change drastically.

At their upcoming meeting this Thursday afternoon, Lakewood's Township Committee is planning to introduce an Ordinance which formally permits catering facilities and banquet halls in schools in all zones where schools are permitted uses (which is everywhere in Lakewood besides for in or adjacent to the senior housing developments), FAA News has learned.

Under the proposed ordinance, the following parking requirements will need to be met:

Where the section of the school utilized for catering and banquet functions is under 800 sq feet, no parking will be required.


Where the section of the school utilized for catering and banquet functions is 800 square feet to 1,999 square feet, 0.75 parking spaces shall be required for every 100 square feet of area utilized for catering and banquet uses.

If the section of the school utilized for catering and banquet functions is 2,000 square feet of greater, then 1.0 parking spaces shall be required for every 100 square feet of area utilized for catering and banquet uses.

According to banquet hall industrial standards, a 2,700 sq feet banquet hall can fit a reception area and dance floor for 300 guests.

Under the Township Committee's proposed regulations, a 2,700 sq feet banquet hall in a school would require only 27 parking spaces.

It's important to note that the language of the Township Committee's proposed ordinance does not clarify whether this parking requirement will be IN ADDITION to the parking requirement for the school, or if the school developers will be able to claim that the banquet hall parking can be "shared" with the parking already being provided for the school.

Way back as part of the 2017 Master Plan, the Planning Board recommended that the Township Committee finally legalize banquet halls with proper parking regulations.

More recently, the Planning Board also sent a formal letter to the Township Committee asking them to legalize adequate banquet halls with proper parking regulations. However, up until now, banquet halls remained non-permitted in Lakewood.

A number of years ago, in response to a lawsuit regarding a proposed hotel on Pine Street and New Hampshire Avenue where a banquet hall was proposed but never included in the legal notice, the Township Committee quietly amended the Ordinance to specify that "banquet facilities" may be included in hotels, with no specific parking requirement.

In April 2021, the Township Committee proposed to amend the Cedabridge Corporate Campus zone to permit banquet halls to be included in hotels at 8 parking spaces per 1,000 sq feet. Proposed land use ordinances require a review by the Planning Board. The Planning Board amended the proposal to permit banquet halls but only at 1 parking space per 1 person of the banquet hall capacity, and only if/when Pine Street is dualized. The Committee acquiesced to requiring 1 parking space per 1 person of the banquet hall capacity, but eliminated the requirement to wait until if/when Pine Street is dualized.

At the time, Mayor Ray Coles stated that he "would like to" enact this strict parking requirement for banquet halls all over town, it is therefore puzzling as to why the Township Committee is now introducing this ordinance at much less parking.

The Committee meeting is on Thursday at 5:30pm. Public comments (including urging the Committee to amend the proposed Ordinance to require 1 parking space per 1 person of the banquet hall capacity) can be sent via email up until 11:30 am on the day of the meeting at or during the meeting via Please include your name and address for the record.

Following this first reading of the Ordinance, the proposal will be forwarded to the Planning Board for their review. The Planning Board will not accept comments from the public during the meeting when they review and vote on this ordinance. The Township Committee will hold a public hearing and second reading on the Ordinance at their next meeting in November.

[It's interesting to note that the businesses and truckers in the industrial park, where many new schools are built, stands to lose the most from this proposed ordinance as it will encourage patrons of the newly permitted banquet halls to park on the streets, which the Lakewood Industrial Commission and the local businesses, have been fighting very strongly to discourage. It's therefore puzzling that the Industrial Commission has not yet fought the proposed ordinance which would permit more banquet halls in the industrial park.

The Lakewood Industrial Commission will be meeting this morning at 11:30am. Members of the public may send in comments to them regarding this issue via email during their meeting to]

Related stories on FAA News:

LAKEWOOD COMMITTEE COULD ALLOW RESIDENTS OPPORTUNITY TO APPEAL BOARD APPROVALS (includes a primer introduction to Lakewood Township's land use boards)


To join a FAA WhatsApp Group, click here.

To join the FAA WhatsApp Status, click here.


Dovid Chaim said...

The one who stands to lose the most is the Planning Board attorney who gets to paid to fight in court to uphold Planning Board approvals for banquet halls as this proposed ordinance will eliminate these lawsuits against the Planning Board.

Yossi Goldstein said...

The LIC should really be fighting for the industrial park businesses. The Committee should amend their proposed ordinance to not permit banquet halls in the industrial park.

Tuvia Feldman said...

If the Township Committee does not amend their proposed ordinance during first reading, the Planning Board had better do the job during their review of the Ordinance. The same way they got the Committee to amend their Cedarbridge park ordinance to 1:1 parking, they need to fight here as well!

Yisrael Weiss said...

Will the Township send legal notices to all affected property owners of this proposed ordinance prior to final reading? If not, the Ordinance may get tossed out in court (despite Steven Secare claiming that notices shouldn't have been required because "this is not a significant change in the zone")

Anonymous said...

According to this ridiculous ordinance, a banquet hall as big as Lake Terrace would only need 120 parking spots. Are they nuts?!?!

Anonymous said...

I'd say "yes"!

Chaim Zucker said...

Did they specifically choose to pull this shtick when only Isaac is up for reelection? They didn't want to do during their own election campaign season because they knew how crazy that would be.

Anonymous said...

Whenever R' Shlomo Chaim K. is involved, there are no red lines that may not be crossed.

Anonymous said...

What are our elected officials thinking in introducing the banquet hall ordinance at tommorrow's meeting? Why do they think that a measly 1 parking spot for every 100 square feet of a Simcha Hall (and only when it's over 2000 SF) is anywhere near enough? According to this crazy rule (likely written by a private school owner who gets a generous salary in line with the revenue) a Hall of 4000 square feet that will fit 400 people only needs 40 parking spaces!! Why are they forcing traffic jams down our throats? I live in a residential area where I expect to get in and out of my block without having to sit in Manhattan-like gridlock every night!

This ordinance is a slap in the face to all residents who live in residential areas!! These committee-men have a lot of chutzpah! Why can't they stick the banquet (simcha) halls in the commercial areas where the businesses will have to deal with the problems instead.

I'm talking to Meir, Menashe, Issac, Mike, and Ray. We didn't vote for you to screw us over like this!

Anonymous said...

They don’t allow everything in this town. For example, if I try to build a banquet hall that’s not associated with a school — that is illegal. But if I place the same simcha hall inside of a school building then it suddenly becomes legal.

The point is that there’s a lot of rules in this town that are ridiculous and make no sense.

Anonymous said...

What's pshat with Menashe Miller & Meir Lichtenstein? What's up with Akerman & Coles? Why do they keep writing regulations that only serve to make driving in this town a nightmare! There's zero yashrus for a rosh hamosad to open a massive simcha hall in a residential zone and then on top of that to give barely any parking.

Just look at the machloikes kamenitz created with its ridge avenue neighbors. The oilam is still very angry at the shtick he pulled by claiming his school and simcha hall operation to be much smaller than it really is. It is expected that the currently named Ridge Avenue will very shortly have to be renamed Disaster Zone Avenue, Lakewood NJ 08701,

And by the way, many of these roshei mosdos make a gantz fine' parnassah from the simcha halls and can afford to take their families on expensive extended vacations which most of their parent body can only dream about. It's a geferliche chutzpah that they push their parents to raise extra hundreds of thousands every year for their "building campaign" (which of course they will own as part of their diverse real estate portfolio.)

So, let me be blunt about this. No rosh hamosad is an automatic tzaddik. Some have indeed earned the title, but many have a loong way to go - and besides for the kavod of choosing which family goes to the right and which to the left, they also cut themselves a very generous income while they're at it.