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It seems that Lakewood Township's Planning Board will finally hear Kollel Kodshim's Site Plan application.

In December 2022 they carried the public hearing on their application until further notice.

As first reported here on FAA News, Kollel Kodshim, which is currently located in trailers on 12th Street between Clifton Avenue and Lexington Avenue, has filed Application SP 2436 to Lakewood Township's Planning Board for Site Plan approval for a "new three-story educational building with a basement with associated off-street parking."

The architectural plans depict a dormitory, however this is not mentioned in the application or the legal notice provided to the neighbors.

The 120’ X 150’ (18,000 SF) rectangular property is located within the R-10 Single-Family Residential Zone District which permits schools and shuls.

The site was previously subdivided into 3 lots. One lot was sold and will remain for residential. The new Kollel building will be contained in the remaining 2 lots which will be required to be consolidated as a condition of any Board approval.

The proposed project has double frontage along the southern side of Courtney Road and the northern side of Twelfth Street, east of Clifton Avenue. No sidewalk currently exists along Courtney Road or Twelfth Street but is proposed with this application.

The architectural plans appear to propose:


2,962 sq feet dining room

265 sq feet Rebbeim dining room


Coffee room

First Floor

3,421 sq feet Beis Medrash

443 sq feet Otzar

Second Floor

1,628 sq feet Ezras Noshim

2 offices

Third Floor

5 dormitory rooms

1,295 sq feet lounge

Showers, laundry room

A parking lot with a two-way access driveway 24 feet wide is proposed from Courtney Road. The parking lot will contain 19 off-street parking spaces, of which 2 will be van-accessible ADA spots. Parking spaces will be 9x18. The parking lot aisle would be 24 feet wide.

Proposed utilities will connect to existing systems within Courtney Road. The application includes provisions for landscaping, site lighting, and stormwater management.

The application is seeking several submission waivers including from providing a traffic study prior to the public hearing. This is a significant waiver request as, based on the size and location, it appears the project would be exempt from Ocean County Planning Board approval, and they are the the Board who typically reviews and weighs traffic studies the most.

The application is also seeking numerous bulk variances including for the Combined Side Yard Setback, Minimum Front Yard Setback, and for the Maximum Building Coverage.

The application is also seeking relief from the Board from buffer requirements as a buffer of 20 feet wide is required from a residential use, and for off-street parking setback as the proposed parking lot is about 3 feet from the sidelines.

According to the review letter from Board Engineer Terry Vogt, no fencing and landscaping have been proposed to justify the required buffer relief nor the required parking setback relief.

Kollel Kodshim is being represented by Toms River Attorney Robert Shea.

Some time ago, neighbors of the Yeshiva, which did not receive Township approval for the temporary trailers, reported the violation to Township officials. In response, the Yeshiva Administration summoned the neighbors to a Din Torah.

The neighbors have retained Teaneck Attorney Jan Meyer to represent their opposition to the Yeshiva's Site Plan.

After their initial notice of a public hearing on their application, the Yeshiva Administration carried the hearing until further notice. They have now again noticed for the Board's upcoming meeting on Tuesday, April 25.

Mr. Meyer sought an extension of time, writing "This firm represents objectors to the above listed application before your Board and hereby re-enter our appearance in this matter. (Previously on the October 25, 2022 agenda and withdrawn). We see that the within matter is now listed on the calendar for April 25, 2023. Our client’s received notice of the hearing on or about March 30 , 2023 for the the hearing to take place as listed on the agenda. It is our intention to introduce expert testimony, including but not limited to, traffic study testimony as part of the apposition to the application. Due to the Passover holiday and the vacation of the general population in the surrounding area of the subject property, a true picture of the traffic is not able to be observed by our expert and therefore we ask that if the matter goes forward on the 25th, we shall then reserve and be afforded the ability to introduce our experts etc at a hearing 30 days later subject to the experts availability."

Mr. Shea responded, "we are in receipt of Mr. Meyer's request for a 30-day adjournment and object to same. This matter is scheduled for a public meeting on April 25. Mr. Meyer claims that his client was unable to obtain a traffic study due to the Passover holiday in early April. The application was previously scheduled for October 25, 2022, with Mr. Meyer entering an appearance for the objector in early to mid-October and previously requesting adjournments. In other words, Mr. Meyer's clients has had six months to obtain a traffic study. It is nothing short of bewildering how the objecting party can now come to the Board and use Passover as an excuse for they obvious delay tactics while they sat on their hands for half a year."

Aside from the traffic, the use of a dormitory will also be a major matter of contention.

As the news was first broken here on FAA News, Judge Ford overturned a Planning Board approval of a dormitory, finding that the Township's ordinances only permit dormitories in Planned Educational Campuses (which require 3 acres). Mr. Meyer is the attorney who won that lawsuit.

However, since then, as previously reported here on FAA News, Board Attorney John Jackson has strong armed the Board to ignore Judge Ford's ruling and continue to approve dormitories.

An additional legal issue with the Kollel Kodshim application is their lack of mention of the dormitory in their application and legal notice.

The New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law requires applicants to provide notice to property owners within 200 feet of the application site, and requires the notice to "state the date, time and place of the hearing, [and] the nature of the matters to be considered".

The New Jersey Appellate Division has found, in the landmark 1996 case known as Perlmart vs. Lacey Twp Planning Board, that the purpose of the notice is to ensure the public is properly apprised "so they may make an informed determination as to whether they should participate in the hearing or at least look more closely at the plans on file."

More recently, in the 2019 case known as Lakewood Realty Associates vs. Lakewood Township Planning Board & RD Lakewood LLC, the Appellate Division found that by failing to mention a banquet hall in a notice for a hotel, the public notice did not adequately describe "the nature of the matters to be considered". The court was not persuaded by the applicant’s argument that the notice adequately described the proposed use because it listed a hotel, and "hotels often include bars, restaurants, and banquet facilities."

This case law will be very pertinent to the Kollel Kodshim application as the notice, whose function is to "ensure the public is properly apprised so they may make an informed determination as to whether they should participate in the hearing or at least look more closely at the plans on file", failed to mention a dormitory, and the Appellate Division in the Lakewood case was not persuaded by the applicant’s argument that the notice adequately described the proposed use because it listed a hotel, and "hotels often include bars, restaurants, and banquet facilities" - similarly, the argument that "the notice states an 'educational building' and such buildings in Lakewood often include dormitories may not withstand judicial review.

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