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The Jackson Township Council tonight held off from voting on final reading of their major "U.S. Justice Department settlement agreement" ordinance.

They said they will bring back the matter on December 5, 2023.

Back on June 15, 2022, Jackson Township and the U.S. Justice Department signed a Consent Decree whereby Jackson Township agreed to repeal their 2017 ordinance which restricted private school development and "replace it with an ordinance that will allow religious elementary and secondary schools, religious higher learning institutions and religious residential schools in numerous residential and other zoning districts, and permitting associated housing such as dormitories as an accessory to private, parochial, and public schools in certain zoning districts."

The consent order specifies that the new zoning ordinance is required to treat religious schools equally with non-religious institutions that operate in the Township.

The actual adoption of this ordinance stalled several times since that time. However, now that Mordy Burnstein joined the Council, the Council has unveiled Ordinance 31-23 which will bring signatures into action and pave the way for shul, schools, dormitories, and mikvahs.

For good measure - though completely unrelated to the litigation - the ordinance will also pave the way for "faculty residences."

Faculty residences are "dwelling units for the exclusive use of the faculty or administrative personnel of a School or Higher Learning Institution (and their family members).... and may be configured as multi-family buildings, townhomes, duplexes or single-family homes."

The idea in creating a carve out for "faculty residences" is to permit for less parking requirements, as R.S.I.S. requires "less [than] one space allocated to each faculty member residing in the residence provided the Faculty Residence is located on the same lot as or an adjacent lot to the Higher learning institution or secondary school."

The requirement for dormitories will also be less stringent than in Lakewood.

In Lakewood, dormitories are only permitted for a "not for profit institution of higher education... that is fully accredited and licensed by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education... and... offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees..."

In contrast, Jackson's new ordinance will permit "dormitories, student residences, and faculty residences, provided that the primary institution to which it is associated is located on an adjacent lot. Approval shall be conditioned on the identification of their affiliation with a secondary school on an adjacent lot."

The full ordinance is available here.

The ordinance was previously scheduled for a public hearing and final vote tonight.

However, with no explanation, Council members stated that they will hold off on voting on the matter until December 5, 2023.

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