Following fierce opposition from their Ridge Avenue neighbors, Yeshiva Ruach Hatorah's Lakewood Planning Board application is being "carried until further notice".

These negotiations were made possible after neighbors retained an attorney following exposure of this application on FAA News.

As first reported here on FAA News, Yeshiva Ruach Hatorah submitted Application SD 2405 to Lakewood's Planning Board for a total of 30 houses on a cul-de-sac bulb off Ridge Avenue between County Line / Lanes Mill Road and New Hampshire Avenue.

The application, which is being represented by Attorney Miriam Weinstein, is playing some zoning tricks and the applicant was apparently hoping no one would realize.

The 4.5 acre site previously contained a one and half story frame dwelling, a detached garage, and a shed. The site has been virtually cleared.

The proposed application is for 14 duplex structures (28 houses) on approximately 10,000 sq feet lots for each structure (5,000 sq feet per home), and 2 single family homes on approximately 10,000 sq feet lots each on a cul-de-sac bulb off Ridge Avenue between County Line / Lanes Mill Road and New Hampshire Avenue.

The lot is in the R-20 Single-Family Residential Zone District which only permits single family homes on 20,000 sq feet lots. Duplexes are not permitted in this zone.

However, duplexes and single family homes of this size are permitted in this particular case because, back in 2014 the Planning Board granted the yeshiva one of those "education campus" approvals and, subsequently in 2018, the Township Committee adopted an ordinance which permits anyone who already has an education campus approval to resubmit to the Planning Board as if they were located in the R7.5 zone which permits single family homes on 7,500 sq feet lots and 2-family homes and duplexes on 10,000 sq feet lots. Therefore, this application is being submitted as "an R7.5".

Terribly slight issue, however, is that the application proposes all 30 houses to be accessed from one single cul-de-sac bulb, and the New Jersey Residential Site Improvements Standard (RSIS) does not permit more than 24 single family or duplex units on a cul-de-sac bulb unless there is also an additional secondary access road.

To work around this "issue", the applicant's professionals have told the Planning Board that they are changing the classification of their "duplexes" to "Multi-Family Housing" as RSIS does permit more than 24 "Multi-Family Housing" units on a cul-de-sac.

Problem is ... Lakewood Township's zoning ordinances ... do not permit Multi-Family Housing units in the R7.5 zone! The only residential dwellings permitted in the R7.5 are single family homes on 7,500 sq feet lots and 2-family homes and duplexes on 10,000 sq feet lots.

Oh well!

As reported earlier here on FAA News, neighbors of the proposed project have retained Brick Attorney Joseph Michelini of the O’Malley, Surman & Michelini firm and Engineer Gordon Gemma to represent them in opposing the application.

At a Planning Board hearing back in June, despite Mrs. Miriam Weinstein's best efforts to move forward that night, Mr. Michelini was successful in getting the application adjourned to the July 26 Planning Board public hearing.

This adjournment has been working well in favor of the neighbors.

The July 26 public hearing was cancelled due to lack of a quorum and all applications on the agenda were rescheduled to a special meeting for the following Tuesday, August 2nd. However, as reported here on FAA News, Yeshiva Ruach Hatorah's application was carried to the September 6th hearing (which will be this Tuesday), after Mrs. Weinstein reached out to Mr. Michelini and offered to negotiate with the neighbors prior to presenting the application to the Board!

In September, due to continuing negotiations, this application was again carried to the upcoming November 15th public hearing.

It appears that the neighbors have been sticking to their guns because, at the request of Mrs. Weinstein, this application is now being carried "until further notice".

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