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A new simcha hall is now officially open for business at Beis Faiga's Gratter building expansion on Park Avenue and 2nd Street, across from a residential neighborhood.

The first simcha was held there last night.

As seen in the photos below, cars were parked all along the sidewalk and on the roads all the way to the stop signs and crosswalks.

At their Planning Board public hearing held on March 16, 2021, school representative Aaron Rottenberg testified, and accepted as a condition of the approval of the expansion, that there will be no simcha hall in the building. The Township has not granted any Certificate of Occupancy for a simcha hall in this building.

The Township Committee recently amended the zoning ordinance to permit banquet halls as an accessory use to a school - but only in non-residential zones, and with adequate parking.

Often residents blame the Township Committee and Planning Board for the parking and traffic congestion nightmares outside simcha halls. However, the Township Committee and Planning Board can only require additional parking and buffers etc for simcha halls when the school developers actually admit that they are building a simcha hall. When they testify under oath that there is no simcha hall then the Planning Board is unable to require sufficient parking for the simcha hall.

Additionally, of note is that this school sought certain variances from the Planning Board. The Board meeting minutes indicate that the Board was happy to grant the variances, in major part, because the proposed school expansion was going to remove an existing banquet hall, and the Board reasoned that a school was a better use than a banquet hall!

Aside from parking and buffers, had the school developers honestly disclosed their banquet hall plan, the Planning Board could have required them to widen their block of Park Avenue which is extremely narrow. Prior to construction of this building expansion, the school buses would line the narrow roadway as the school did not have an off-road circular bus lane. At the public hearing, the school developers told the Board that their expansion would include an off-road circular bus lane which would permit them to remove buses from the road, ultimately freeing up the congested roadway. Had they disclosed the banquet hall and its insufficient parking lot, the Board would have said that their roadway is still too narrow and it needs to be widened.

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Yoni said...

Welcome to Lakewood!!

Not a good situation said...

Bais Faiga is exposing themselves to serious liability claims due to proximate cause in case anyone ever gets injured as a result of the illegal Simcha Hall use.

Furthermore, this liability is not just restricted to within the perimeter of the property but can also be extended to an on-street injury in the case of a motor vehicle accident related to traffic generated by the unapproved simcha hall use.

Given the very unique factors and conditions surrounding this building, the LCS would be well advised to have a team of defense attorneys on retainer.

Anonymous said...

The school owners who build simcha halls without sufficient parking are no different than the greedy developers that manipulate the system in creative ways to construct dense developments without providing a shul and playground for the residents. In the end everyone suffers, besides for the owner/developer who laughs at all of us while he stuffs his wallet with our hard-earned dollars.