Join Our Telegram Channel


In quite a shocking move, the attorney representing the Lakewood Zoning Board has objected - using our property tax dollars - to a frum attorney's request to postpone due to Pesach the proceeding of a lawsuit filed by a frum Lakewood resident which seeks to overturn the Zoning Board's approval of a cell tower facility on Clifton Avenue.

More egregiously, this objection was knowingly submitted after the assignment judge already granted the postponement request, so the objection was a complete waste of taxpayer dollars from the get-go!

This shocking objection comes after an attorney representing Verizon also objected to the frum attorney's request to postpone due to Pesach the proceeding of the lawsuit.

The matter involves the Zoning Board's approval of a cell tower facility atop the Senior Citizen resident building on Clifton Avenue and 5th Street.

Numerous neighbors, without an attorney representing them, attended the Zoning Board hearing and spoke up in opposition to the granting of the Use Variance which would enable installation of the cell tower, citing health concerns due to the proximity of the proposed tower to their residential homes.

Morristown Attorney Richard Schneider representing Verizon responded that the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 preempts any state or municipality, including the Lakewood Zoning Board from regulating the “placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the purported environmental effects of radio frequency emissions” as long as the facility is operating within the Federal Communications Commission’s regulations.

The neighbors attempted to distribute to the Board articles regarding an August 13, 2021 Federal appeals court opinion in a case known as Environmental Health Trust vs FCC and USA which found that the FCC, which has not updated their guidelines regarding the standards for cell towers since 1996, has failed to adequately respond to credible evidence, such as from the American Academy of Pediatrics, that radio frequency radiation exposure, even at levels lower that those permitted under the existing guidelines, can have negative health impacts on children.

The Zoning Board refused to look at the federal court opinion after the Board Attorney asserted the articles were irrelevant because "he is sure there are other articles that say differently."

A neighbor implored the Board to at least table the application to a future date to permit him time to retain a professional to better present their concerns to the Zoning Board.

Chairman Abe Halberstam brushed him off, saying he could "sue the Township and go to Court."

The Board then voted to approve the Use Variance application.

Subsequently, in April 2022, as first reported here on FAA News, the neighbors retained Teaneck Attorney Jan Meyer who filed a Complaint in Lieu of Prerogative Writs in Superior Court seeking to overturn the Zoning Board's decision.

As previously reported here on FAA News, back in February, Ocean County Assignment Judge Francis Hodgson dismissed a portion of the lawsuit and scheduled a hearing on the remainder of the lawsuit for immediately after Pesach. This means that their motion submissions would have been due on the Second Day of Yom Tov.

On Erev Yom Tov, Attorney Jonathan Leitman Esq. representing the neighbors submitted a letter to Judge Hodgson seeking a 2 week adjournment of the Summary Judgement Motion, writing "as the due date is over the Passover holiday, I (and my firm) are unable to do any work or file any documents for the next three days. While I had hoped to have the opposition to the motion prepared in advance of the passover holiday, I was unable to finalize such opposition, as a result of limitations related to my continuing illness."

While 2 weeks adjournments in Superior Court are considered extremely minor and routine and rarely does any adversary object, in this case, as previously reported here on FAA News, Verizon's attorney did object, claiming that the Plaintiff "was undoubtedly well aware of the date of the Passover holiday and should have planned accordingly relative to its required submission."

Judge Hodgson was not perturbed and granted the accomodation to the Plaintiff. The motion hearing has been rescheduled to May 12.

Shockingly, after this accomodation was already granted, Attorney Jerry Dasti Esq. representing the Lakewood Zoning Board submitted a letter concurring with Verizon's objection!

"Although we are advised that the Plaintiff's request for an adjournment... has already been granted, for the record, we strongly object...

"While we all understand and appreciate that this is the holiday season... for the Plaintiff to utilize the "holiday excuse" at such a late date is suspicious, to say the least...

"Thank you for allowing me to provide this letter, simply out of frustration," wrote Mr. Dasti.

In 2022, Jerry Dasti's firm, Dasti Murphy & McGuckin received $88,928.52 for their Lakewood legal services contract. His appointment is on annual basis.

To join a FAA WhatsApp Group, click here.

To join the FAA WhatsApp Status, click here.

No comments: