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Rabbi Avi Schnall is apparently campaigning with catchy slogans about Route 9 and how Trenton bureaucracy has ignored us for 50 years.

Here are several points to keep in mind.

1) Rabbi Schnall campaigned in Lakewood very much in support of Governor Phil Murphy's reelection race, despite that his adversary Republican candidate Jack Ciattirell openly committed to properly widening Route 9. If Rabbi Schnall truly supports widening Route 9, why didn't he grab the opportunity to support Jack Ciattirell??

2) As part of the Township's 2017 Master Plan process, the Township sought Plan Endorsement from the State Planning Commission.

This Plan Endorsement was "necessary" in order for the Township to allow for an increase in permitted impervious cover and a reduction in vegetative cover requirements, (i.e. additional overdevelopment) especially in the Cedarbridge Corporate Campus.

Documents obtained by FAA News, shown below, indicate that as part of this process, Township officials were required to "propose a detailed circulation strategy that...  acknowledges that the State does not have the funds to widen Route 9 in the foreseeable future and that Lakewood has investigated alternative north-south roadways to lessen the traffic congestion on Route 9."

In other words, in exchange for receiving the "very important approval" to overdevelop lots in the Cedarbridge Corporate Campus, the State demanded that the Township openly agree to stop asking the State to widen Route 9!

The State Planning Commission further required that Township to "implement land use controls consistent with the desirable typical section for Route 9 in the Access Code. The Township's zoning along Route 9 south of downtown provides for setbacks to help preserve a right of way for future Route 9 widening. However, based on field observation, there appears to be significant development close to the highway. The Township shall provide copies of variances and other provisions that have allowed for encroaching development."

In other words, the State was noting that although the Township previously implemented setback requirements along Route 9 south of downtown to help preserve a right of way for future widening of the roadway, the Township has made widening very difficult as they have also granted variances that have allowed for encroaching development too close to the roadway.

3) On that very note, it's appropriate to highlight that in 2015, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority presented plans to the Township for a center left turning lane along this section of Route 9. However, in a 2020 letter - obtained by FAA News - to Ocean County officials, NJDOT officials stated that they decided to withdraw their plans for a center left turning lane, as that proposal would have cost $555 million because "Route 9 is surrounded by a mix of residential and commercial properties with many having frontage and parking close to the Right-of-way. The resulting widening would have required extensive land acquisitions etc, resulting in significant costs for which DOT does not have sufficient funding."

The full letter is shown below:

Instead, DOT decided to scale down to only an intersection improvements project. As was first reported here on FAA News, construction on that project began last year.

4) As previously reported here on FAA News, ignoring safety concerns expressed on the issue by the Planning Board, the Township Committee adopted an Ordinance lowering the setback to 17 feet for owner-occupied single family structures. This Ordinance applies to all residential zones, and does not exclude Route 9.

Keeping all this in mind, it seems that Askanim – the same officials backing his campaign - have long made it clear that widening Route 9 is NOT their top priority. And very likely they have made it an impossibility.

Why now suddenly is Rabbi Schnall claiming that "Trenton bureaucracy has ignored us for 50 years," as if our local officials have actually been actively advocating for it appropriately??

Perhaps, you may think that Rabbi Schnall is simply unaware that Township officials have actually been busy eliminating the possibility for the State to widen Route 9.

Well... as was first reported here on FAA News, Township Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein, who is the architect of the 2017 Master Plan and the causes for the State to not want to widen Route 9, is the guy behind Rabbi Schnall's election campaign. Perhaps Rabbi Schnall ought to chap a schmooze with his campaign guy and hear what's he's been up to all this time!

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Anonymous said...

This is the sickest part of the whole. Rte 9 widening lie. They gave up our chance for it. So their friends could build what they want. So we got screwed from.both ends. More traffic. And no chance to fix it. And this was all planned by members on our committee. They are meant to protect us

Anonymous said...

Our committeemen have always been beholden to greedy developers, landlords, and other connected parties that could care less about the fallout to the other 99% of Lakewood’s residents. It is the committee which has been giving direction (either directly or through their attorney) to our land use boards on how they want the physical layout of our town to be developed. I know a number of people that curse out Menash and company every time they get stuck wasting their precious time in crazy traffic jams throughout Lakewood. The 5 (4) committee members are directly to blame for the colossal mess our families must constantly be burdened with. They got paid millions in salaries and benefits over the years from our taxpayer dollars for their disservice. It almost seems as if their #1 priority has been to mute our voices. They’ve failed us over and over again.

Anonymous said...

Sickest thing is did you see websites with pictures stating that all rosh yeshiva take rabbi schnall to dance with. Who is in who's circle . They meant to say look how avi joined circles in the center as a photo op

001 said...

This is really upsetting

Anonymous said...

Menash kissed up to Danny Rottenberg.

Danny owns WestGate apartments, He instructed Menash to close down Lakewood's Rent Control Board.

Menash, Everyone is suffering now because of it.

Menash, How much did you get?

You sell yourself so cheap???

No shame?, what a shame.

Anonymous said...

Avi Schnall, As Sir Winston Churchill succinctly told Lady Astor

"What you are, we established- now we have to negotiate the fee".

You have very good teachers that instructed you.

Anonymous said...

Wow!, that Winston Churchill is an excellent description of so many of our heimish local politicians.