Join Our Telegram Channel


The Lakewood Planning Board did not make any recommendations tonight regarding the proposed banquet hall ordinance.

Rather, they are soliciting their contracted Engineers and Planners from Remington & Vernick to do a comprehensive review on the proposal, and they will discuss the matter further at their next meeting on November 29th. Although that is past their 35 day deadline, the Township Committee is anyways not going to meet to vote on the ordinance until December 8th.

Attorney Rob Shea and Engineer Gordon Gemma were at the meeting representing "Industrial Park property owners" who are opposed to the proposed Ordinance.

Mr. Shea began by asking that if any Board member owns a school, they should recuse themselves from sitting on this Ordinance review. Mr. Shea further asked that if any Board member is planning to soon hold any events at any local simcha halls that they also recuse themselves. Board Attorney John Jackson pushed back that that was too much of a request, though at that point one board member removed himself from the dais.

Mr. Shea and Mr. Gemma spoke at length, cautioning the Board that, in its present language the proposed ordinance will permit banquet halls in every single school and that perhaps banquet halls which are used late at night should have a more stringent setback and buffer from residential areas than schools (without banquet halls) currently have.

Mr. Gemma quoted from the Township's 2017 Master Plan to show that the proposed ordinance is indeed inconsistent with the Master Plan.

He noted that item 1 of the Vision Statement (as pictured below) is to "Encourage growth and development in appropriate locations and consistent with established land uses", and that permitting a use which is currently not permitted in most areas of town hardly seems "consistent with established land uses".

He also noted that the Planning Board specifically noted in their Master Plan (as pictured below) that banquet halls should be permitted "conditionally, in appropriate locations, with adequate lot size, sufficient off-street parking, adequate buffers and setbacks", and that this proposed ordinance which will grant a blanket permissibility for banquet halls in every school, with the same lot area and buffers as are currently required for schools which were not designed to host parties at night next to residential areas, hardly seems consistent with the Master Plan.

Board members questioned that perhaps, the Township Committee may not be willing to permit them to make such drastic changes to the proposed ordinance and perhaps they would be better off killing the proposed ordinance and keeping things with the status quo.

Mr. Gemma responded that that's a bad idea as that will give leeway to schools to present applications of any lots size and setbacks and say "close you eyes to my banquet hall", however, if the Board does justice to this proposed ordinance then they will be the deciders of where banquet halls fit and how much parking they need.

At the end of the game, Board Attorney John Jackson suggested - and the board consented - that the Board's contracted Engineer and Planner from Remington & Vernick will do a comprehensive review of this ordinance and give some recommendations. Additionally, the Board will set up an ad hoc subcommittee to meet in the coming days for a "major sit down" on this whole proposal.

At one point, a board member asked Mr. Shea what he recommends and what he would like to see in this ordinance. Mr. Shea retorted that he is here simply in opposition to the proposed ordinance because he doesn't want banquet halls in the Industrial Park and it isn't his job to assist the board in doing their review.

To join a FAA WhatsApp Group, click here.

To join the FAA WhatsApp Status, click here.

No comments: