Following exposure on FAA News, Lakewood Township officials are now walking back from their quiet plot 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 weeks ago, the New Jersey Appellate Division 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 therefore use variance relief from the Zoning Board 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.

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


Who and what was going on??

Why was 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?


As exposed here on FAA News, 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 wanted to quietly permit dormitories to be approved by the Planning Board without any use variance being necessary.

Township officials figured that this plot will work smoothly - so 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 too many neighbors opposing applications before the Planning Board.

Following exposure on FAA News of this quiet plot to attempt to ignore the court rulings on the permissibility of dormitories, Township officials have pulled the plug on their grand scheme.

Yeshiva Gedola of Brick's application was moved back to the Zoning Board where they are properly seeking a use variance. It is listed as Appeal # 4307 on Monday night's public meeting agenda.

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Anonymous said...

Since when have the township officials cared about public backlash.
They do literally whatever they want and have no care or concern for the people in Lakewood.
And when called out about things they still do nothing.

Yosef M said...

It is finally time for the Lakewood township officials to change this absurd law prohibiting dorms in residential areas. No other township in the state has such a absurd law. It doesnt make sense that lakewood the ir and makom hatorah would have such a anti yeshiva law. It so sad to see so many yeshivos suffer. Its time for a change.

Anonymous said...

It’s great to see that someone from the township took notice of your article and took action. And yet there are still those in the community that call you a troublemaker, a moser because you expose the truth when writing your articles!!!! Keep up the good work!!!