Join Our Telegram Channel


Once again, the Lakewood Industrial Commission (LIC), which is the arm of the Township of Lakewood which "oversees the Lakewood Industrial Parks and acts as a business community ombudsman on behalf of the township" (according to their website), has outright refused to be an ombudsman.

"Promoting the growth of business in the parks has been the charter of LIC since its inception in the 1960s. Today's Industrial Parks, mostly built out with over 200 buildings to which over 10,000 people a day come to work, are a central cornerstone in Lakewood's overall economic strategy", exclaims their website.

However, the LIC today turned a blind eye to their mission, simply stating "we see no evil, hear no evil, and we're not a standard advocacy group".

As the news was first broken here on FAA News, Lakewood's Township Committee has introduced 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), with extremely minimal parking requirements.

At the LIC's regular monthly meeting this morning, a number of public comment emails were submitted asking the Industrial Commission to truly act as a business community ombudsman and promote the growth of tax-boosting businesses in the parks by urging the Township Committee to eliminate the industrial park from the zones where banquet halls are proposed to become permitted as an accessory use in schools.

The public comments noted that the LIC expended efforts, including by building a park and ride, to combat on-street parking congestion, which will only get much worse if banquet halls are a permitted accessory use in schools in the industrial park.

One member of the public wrote:

I am writing to alert you to an ordinance which our Township Committee is proposing which I hope you will lobby to fix.

Currently, the Township's zoning ordinances do not permit banquet halls in schools.

The Township Committee is proposing an ordinance to change this, to now permit banquet halls in schools - in all zones which permit schools.

The ordinance has an extremely low parking requirement - apparently the Township Committee is completely clueless as to how many people attend simchos.

As introduced, the ordinance will permit banquet halls in schools in the Industrial park.

Because the Township Committee is not requiring sufficient parking, this will lead to many people parking on the industrial park roads - which you just built your park and ride to discourage the on street parking.

I feel that it would be in the best interest of the industrial park businesses if the LIC would urge the Township Committee - now, before the ink gets dry - to fix this proposed ordinance.

Either fix the parking requirement to 1 space per 1 person of banquet hall capacity, or eliminate the industrial park from this ordinance.

The industrial park simply does not need banquet halls which will bring lots of parking to the streets.

Another member of the public wrote:

I am writing to you due to reports that the Township Committee has introduced an Ordinance which would permit banquet halls as an accessory use in schools in all zones where schools are a permitted use.

I am a tenant in the industrial park.

As the ambassadors of the industrial parks I am asking you to urge the Township Committee to remove the industrial park from the zones where banquet halls will be permitted in schools.

The banquet halls which have already been snuck in to the industrial park have on-street parking problems.

As you have expended efforts, including building a park and ride, to eliminate on street parking in the industrial park, it would seem like a good idea for you to now urge the Township Committee to eliminate the industrial park from the permitted zones where banquet halls will be permitted as an accessory use.

Additionally, when patrons go to the existing banquet halls in the industrial park they are often forced to walk in the streets as - due to your hard efforts - there are not many sidewalks in the industrial park. As such, I feel it would be a good idea to limit banquet halls in the Industrial park as much as possible.

A third member of the public wrote:

Please, please, tell the Township Committee to scratch their banquet hall in schools ordinance, or at the very least to remove the industrial park from the zones where schools will be permitted.

Banquet halls, their delivery trucks and their on-street parking congestion, and our industrial neighbors simply do no mix well.

LIC Chairman Bob Kirschner appeared to agree, stating that "parking is an issue at all schools and all banquet halls. Regardless how many experts you bring in, there is never enough parking."

However, his Executive Director Steven Reinman immediately pushed back, saying "We have not yet seen the proposed ordinance, and even if did, we are not a standard advocacy group of Township business which is set by the Township Committee. If the Committee wishes for us to voice our opinion regarding a pending ordinance, they correspondence with us accordingly. In this case, the Committee have not corresponded with us and therefore we have nothing to say on the matter."

As simple as that - our eyes and ears are shut tight so we see no evil and we hear no evil!

A member of the public also called out the LIC regarding their general lack of transparency.

The LIC's public meeting agenda states that public comment emails must be submitted by 3:30am as that is 8 hours prior to the meeting (apparently they need some time to review public comment emails before they can provide answers). Yet, even at 3:30am their full meeting packet was not yet available online.

We previously reported here and here on FAA News regarding the LIC playing games in order to ignore public comments. After the last episode, as reported here on FAA News, Mayor Ray Coles stepped up to the plate, saying that he spoke to Steve Reinman and he notified him that the Township Committee accepts public comments during their meetings and the LIC should be able to do the same thing.

However, today's LIC agenda still said that public comments will only be accepted up to 8 hours prior to the meeting. To be sure, according to emails obtained by FAA News, a member of the public reached out to Mr. Reinman to ask him if the policy was updated yet to permit emails during the meeting (after the full resolution packet is made available to the public). Mr. Reinman responded "we have not yet adopted changes to our posted requirements. We will post changes when the commission has decided on same."

[Isn't it ironic that when deciding what time public comments must be submitted, the LIC is able to disregard Mayor Coles and make up their own rules, yet, when it comes to fulfilling their very charter of being an ombudsman and promoting growth of businesses in the industrial park, they sit with their hands folded saying "the Township Committee didn't bother to ask for our input so this is out of our hands"!]

A member of the public also submitted a public comment email regarding this lack of transparency. He wrote in part:

It is just before the deadline to submit public comment emails, yet your full meeting packet has not yet been posted online.

The link text says "full packet" however it is only the agenda.

This is not the first time that you held off from posting the Statement of Accounts until after the deadline to submit public comment emails has passed.

What is your excuse this time?

Are you purposely trying to hide your documents because you want to be sure no one will ask you uncomfortable questions about your finances?

We the people deserve transparency!

Mr. Reinman refused to explain why emails still need to be submitted 8 hours in advance, but he did offer to come to this guy's house with a laptop and show him his books.

Apparently, full transparency is only available at someone's house, not during Open Public Meetings.

To join a FAA WhatsApp Group, click here.

To join the FAA WhatsApp Status, click here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LIC chairman gets an additional $500 monthly car allowence on top of his $160k salary to host about 12 yearly LIC meetings. It would only be nice that he drive down with the lic allowance car and show the books how taxpayer money is spent.
He should also disclose that the family member of a LIC commissioner gets a 2k monthly check from the LIC for marketing. But don't blame the lic members many who don't even live in Lakewood they were appointed by the committee and are their puppets