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Jackson Township Councilman Martin Flemming is expected to be reappointed to serve on the Township's Planning Board.

The New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law requires Planning Boards to include a member of the governing body.

Each year, a member of the governing body is appointed to serve for a one year term as a Class III member of the Planning Board.

In November, thanks to a strong turnout of voters from the Orthodox Jewish community, Mr. Flemming lost a narrow bid to take over the mayoral position.

Mr. Flemming has a history of pushing back against construction of Jewish schools - even at the expense of building high density housing instead. Earlier last year, while Lakewood developer Mordechai Eichorn had a pending Planning Board application to build 4 Jewish schools, Flemming negotiated with him to re-apply to the Zoning Board for high density housing instead.

The Jackson Township Council is also expected to reappoint Brent Robert Pohlman Esq. of Edison-based Methfessel & Werbel as their lead counsel in Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) matters.

Mr. Pohlman already represents the Township in its RLUIPA lawsuits through its insurance carrier. Therefore, instead of bidding out this position through publishing a Request for Proposals, the Township is approving this appointment through the Non-fair and Open process.

In February 2019, while deep in RLUIPA litigation filed by Agudath Israel of America, Township Attorney Jean Cipriani quit the case. At the time, Mayor Mike Reina and the Township Council hired nationally renowned Marci Hamilton as special counsel to take over the case.

Hamilton received a contract of $800 per hour with no spending cap on her services. She previously represented several communities including Upper Saddle River, Mahwah and Pomona who battled the frum community over Eruvim. In each of those towns, Hamilton was forced to settle with the Eruv proponents.

Hamilton walked away from Jackson after only a few months on the job after township officials rejected a potential settlement he negotiated.

Subsequently, Mayor Reina brought in Howard Mankoff Esq., a guy who came in highly recommended as a superstar land-use lawyer.

In September 2020, Mankoff also parted ways with Jackson and he was replaced with Brent Pohlman.

As previously reported here on FAA News, Mr. Pohlman is currently representing Jackson Township in their litigation filed by the New Jersey Attorney General.

Town officials have not yet disclosed how much money they will cap Mr. Pohlman's contract.

Both of these appointments are expected to be formalized at the Township Council's annual Reorganization meeting which will be held tonight.

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1 comment:

Jackson'er with open eyes said...

Let the buyer beware.

Reina is playing many sides here.

The developers don't really want to build schools. They just want to present applications for schools as a way to pressure Town officials to grant them variances for high density housing.

That's why they need Flemming - because he dislikes Jewish schools so much that he will actually help them build housing instead, and that is anyways their ultimate goal.

Keeping Flemming on the Planning Board is a win-win for the developers.

Jackson residents who aren't interested in Jackson turning into the next Lakewood need to open their eyes and realize that developers are trying to make a case that "anti developers is anti-Jewish."

Royal Grove residents have already opened their eyes to this issue. Hopefully they will continue to keep their eyes wide open.