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Yotzer Ohr Torah Academy is seeking approval from the Jackson Township Zoning Board to legalize their existing girls high school.

Yotzer Ohr, located at 950 Maplehurst Avenue, is a small school with approximately 20 students who are frum but need more nurturing than the classic Lakewood school system provides.

According to their application, they study mainly using the online Acellus homeschooling program. They also have classes from in-person teachers.

There is no dormitory on site so the students are dropped off and picked up each day.

On November 22, 2021, Yotzer Ohr received a Notice of Violation from the Township's Code Enforcement Department for an illegal Change of Use from a single family home to a school.

The site is located in the Industrial Zone where schools are not a permitted use.

In response to the Code Enforcement violation, the school has now submitted this application to the Zoning Board to legalize their operation.

At this time the school is only seeking Use Variance approval. If granted, a Site Plan application will follow.

Attorney Donna Jennings Esq., representing the school, wrote to the Zoning Board that they meet the positive criteria for the granting of a Use Variance as they are an inherently beneficial use, and they meet the negative criteria - which requires that the variance cannot be granted without a showing that the proposed use will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the zoning ordinance and master plan - as a small high school, with minimal traffic and on-site parking, would be much less of an impact than the industrial uses which are permitted by-right on the site.

The Zoning Board is scheduled to consider Yotzer Ohr's Use Variance application this Wednesday, March 15.

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