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Lakewood developer Mordy Eichorn's Jackson Trails development is a new development which, at full build-out, is planned to include 386 single-family homes (with basement apartments), 96 multi-family units, and a shul. The project site is located off South Hope Chapel Road, which is an Ocean County owned road.

Mr. Eichorn has provided a traffic study of projected traffic counts. This study indicates that no traffic signal will be necessary for the project.

Just in case this turns out to be not fully accurate, County officials are taking steps now to ensure that they will have the legal wherewithal in the future to require a traffic signal if one does become necessary!

Back in October 2019, Jackson Township's Planning Board denied Eichorn's application for a residential housing development to be known as Jackson Trails.

The fully conforming application included 367 single-family homes and 92 multi-family units, and a house of worship.

In response, on February 3, 2020, Mr. Eichorn filed a complaint in Federal Court seeking to overturn the Board's denial.

Finally, in March 2022, after 2 years of heavy litigation, Township officials finally settled with Mr. Eichorn.

In addition to approving the Jackson Trails application, the settlement agreement also provided that the Township would pay Mr. Eichorn a settlement payment of $700,000 inclusive of attorney’s fees and costs, and that the Township would waive construction permit fees of up to $1,500,000 and shall take all reasonable and necessary steps to expedite the review, approval and/or inspection of the development so as not to delay the construction of the development.

As water main extensions are costly in this area, the settlement included a clause that Mr. Eichorn shall have the exclusive right to install private wells in the development, in lieu of connection to the public water system.

Finally, the settlement agreement includes a clause that Mr. Eichorn shall be permitted to construct a front porch and steps on each single family home within the front yard setback not to exceed 120 square feet. Said front porch and steps may intrude into the front yard setback without each individual lot required to secure a bulk variance.

As part of the settlement agreement, the Township desired that the development should include 4 additional affordable units. Mr. Eichorn agreed to this stipulation.

The settlement agreement included a clause that Mr. Eichorn would be permitted to return to the Planning Board for an amended approval, to be known as Schedule B, which would permit for residential housing consisting of 386 single-family homes (with basement apartments), 96 multi-family units, a house of worship and all related improvements.

As previously reported here on FAA News, back in April 2023, the Planning Board held a public hearing placing the terms of this settlement on the record, and granting the final design plan, which the project attorney Donna Jennings and engineer Ian Borden testified complies with both the Settlement Agreement and the RG-3 zoning district.

Mr. Borden testified to the Board that although the settlement does expressly include a clause that they can install private wells in lieu of extending water main, they are still working with the Jackson Township MUA and the Manchester Township MUA on a plan which includes 3 miles of water main extension in Jackson and 1 mile of extension in Manchester.

Per the plan documents submitted to the Board, the Minimum Lot Area for each Single Family Home will be 7,500 sq feet.

Construction phasing will be as follows:

Phase I 97 market rate homes
Phase II 95 market rate homes + 1 affordable housing building of 12 units
Phase III 97 market rate homes + 2 affordable housing buildings of 24 units total (48 units in total)
Phase IV 97 market rate homes + 2 affordable housing buildings of 24 units total (96 units in total)

The affordable units will include 19 efficiency units, 30 two bedroom units and 66 three bedroom units.

The 2-story House of Worship will include 4,943 sq ft of floor area in the main sanctuary, as well as two additional sanctuaries with 2,418 sq ft of floor area in each. This is a total of 9,779 sq feet of floor area. Jackson Township's zoning ordinances require 1 parking space per 50 sq feet of floor area of "main congregant area," which comes to 195 parking spaces. This application will provide a total of 205 parking spaces for the House of Worship.

The Ocean County Planning Board has now also granted contingent approval for the project - but with a massive catch.

Mr. Eichorn has provided a traffic study of projected traffic counts. This study indicates that no traffic signal will be necessary for the project. Therefore, the County can't now require installation of a traffic signal.

However, the key highlight of the County's contingent approval of the development is that it requires Mr. Eichorn to enter into a Developer's Agreement with the County to provide an actual traffic signal warrant analysis once the Certificate of Occupancies for Phase I and Phase II have been issued. This "real traffic report" will reveal whether the actual traffic for the first two phases exceed the numbers within the currently provided traffic report (which indicates that no traffic signal will be necessary).

If actual traffic exceeds the numbers within the provided traffic report, then Phase III and Phase IV will be projected using those actuals to determine a traffic signal warrant. This will increase the possibility that the County will be able to require a traffic signal in the future.

The contingent approval also requires Mr. Eichorn to pay a $6,000 off-tract drainage improvement fee, as well as to pay off-tract traffic improvement fees as follows: Phase I - $57,000, Phase II - $56,875, Phase III - $56,875, Phase IV - $58,125. Finally, no Certificate of Occupancies are to granted until the County road improvements have been constructed.

Mr. Eichorn has already secured NJDEP permitting for the utility extension within the CAFRA zone.

As previously reported here on FAA News, after neighbors of Menachem Gutfreund of Bais Reuven Kaminetz, Inc.'s application for a school and Simcha Hall, plus the adjacent Farmers Drive 15-unit housing Subdivision, filed a lawsuit arguing that the number of proposed students was misrepresented and that the yeshiva did not advertise in their legal notice to the neighbors that they were planning to include a banquet hall in their building.

Thanks to this lawsuit, Ocean County officials have learned of the issues caused by the Lakewood Planning Board turning a blind eye to major parking variances and Simcha halls in general, and they have upped their own game in keeping a more watchful eye on Lakewood school applications.

As previously reported here on FAA News regarding the Sunset Road Sefardic Congregation's application, the county is likewise keeping a more watchful eye on that shul application and its major parking variance. As Sunset Road is a county road, the county has more latitude on this application, and they can hold off construction until they grant final approval.

As also reported here on FAA News, following Lakewood Township's adoption of an Ordinance which will permit many additional banquet halls to be built in the township, Ocean County officials have taken meaningful steps aiming to ensure that the traffic impact of banquet halls is properly considered. This included requiring Bnos Devorah's simcha hall application to "analyze the Oak Street and New Hampshire Avenue intersection to determine impacts to County facilities during peak hours and also during off-peak multi-function hall events, as this is one of many halls in the area creating traffic peak outside typical peak hours."

Now, it seems that County officials are also not taking any chances regarding the need for traffic signals at planned large developments, including in Jackson.

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Anonymous said...

Hopefully, our county officials have entered a new era of requiring full and continuing transparency in the application process.

Half-stories submitted by the likes of schmuck schmuckler at Newlines Engineering will no longer be given an automatic stamp of approval. The days of gaming the system with no probing of the actual facts will hopefully be coming to an end. The roads belong to all the residents and we must no longer allow rogue and greedy developers together with their enablers to hijack our infrastructure for their self-serving motives. It’s better (very) late than never.

Emes? What's that?? said...

So basically Kamenitz screwed it up for everybody because of the level of his dishonesty. It sounds like the neighbors might have been able to tolerate some deceit. But this guy was so greedy and went so way over the line, that it was just too much. Well, I’m sure he's the type that could care less about getting the neighbors angry while he also ruins things for all the other applicants.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Flancbuam is looking at the county seat…

Common sense said...

Have they again perverted the word multi-family and actually put in private Residential housing?
Multifamily means it's a rental property as a business, and not private home duplexes with basement rentals.
Multi family requires special registration with the NJ state Community Affairs for a green card and must have state inspections to get their green cards.
Are they really doing this?
They also are required to put down 30% for a mortgage in multi family. Will they label them multifamily when applying for a mortgage?

I hope that Jackson verifies that this is not another developer manipulation of what the housing really is.