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Lakewood Township officials are very quietly plotting to ignore the New Jersey Appellate Division's ruling that dormitories are not permitted in most of the town, a FAA News investigation reveals.

As previously reported here on FAA News, just last week, the appeals court affirmed Judge Ford and Judge Hodgson's rulings, making it as crystal clear as possible that dormitories are permitted in Lakewood only in an Educational Campus, which requires 3 acres and is available only to schools that give graduate degrees - but not in regular residential neighborhoods.

In light of the court rulings, Yeshiva Gedola of Brick d/b/a Mesivta Tiferes Shmuel submitted Appeal # 4304 to the Zoning Board "for use variance approval to construct a school building with a dormitory on the southwest side of Cross Street which is situated in the R-40 residential zoning district where dormitories are not a permitted use."

Terry Vogt, the Board Engineer, confirmed in his review letter that the use is not permitted and a use variance is necessary.

Amazingly, after this application was already placed on the Zoning Board’s agenda, it was pulled off and moved to the Planning Board's agenda for tomorrow, Tuesday night.

The application is now rebranded as SP 2567. The Board Engineer's review letter now quietly considers this simply a "school which is a permitted use." Gone is the earlier determination that the use of a dormitory is not permitted and a use variance is necessary.

Who and what is going on here??

Why is the Planning Board considering an application for a use which they were already told in three courts  is not under the Planning Board's jurisdiction?

How can Planning Board Attorney John Jackson have allowed this application to be placed on the Board’s agenda?


You see, behind the scenes, Mr. Jackson was directed by the Township Committee to quietly push the Planning Board to continue to approve dormitory applications!



So here's the explanation:

The Township Committee does not want to adopt an ordinance formally making dormitories a permitted use because they don't want to deal with the exposure and backlash of doing such a controversial move.

At the same time, they will ever so quietly permit dormitories to be approved by the Planning Board without any use variance being necessary.

This will work smoothly - as long as neighbors don't oppose such applications.

In cases where neighbors hire attorneys to argue that the Planning Board lacks jurisdiction to approve such applications, the Township will tell the Yeshiva "sorry, they win and you lose. No dorm for you."

This way it's a win, win for the Committee. No headaches dealing with adopting an unpopular ordinance, and they are banking on the likelihood of not many neighbors opposing applications before the Planning Board.

Moreover, by replacing Moshe Raitzik with Yechiel Herzl, the Committee now has all their boys looking just as pretty as they need them to be...

L'chaim to all the kool-aid 🍻!

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