Jackson Trails Threatens Legal Action after Permit Denial
Attorneys representing the developers backing the Jackson Trails development sent a letter to the township’s planning board after the latest of several attempts to gain approval failed.
The housing project of over 350 homes and a shul has met resistance from the town’s zoning board for some time now. The property is located near the border of Manchester Township, far from the area of Jackson that borders Lakewood, and which is already home to several hundred Orthodox families.
The application was rejected last month and the board now declined to take up an appeal on the matter.
Jackson Trail’s application has meet with vocal resistance from several groups aimed at stunting the Orthodox community’s growth. It has caused controversy for the Planning Board’s membership as well. This past August, three of its members were forced to resign after an audio recording showed them to be in attendance at a CUPON (Citizens United to Protect Our Neighborhoods) meeting which discussed strategies to block the development’s application.
The Planning Board’s attorney Gregory McGuckin, who also serves as a state assemblyman for the Toms River area, said that the board’s decision was not necessarily final and that two of the “no” votes wanted more time to gather information.
The present letter informs the board that Storzer and Associates, a law firm specializing in religious land use laws, has been retained by the developer and urges the town to reconsider its denial and to approve the application.
Should the matter result in litigation, it would constitute the third suit facing Jackson over alleged religious discrimination. In 2017, the town was sued by the Agudath Israel of America, claiming ordinances that banned the construction of new schools and eruvin were motivated by bias against the Orthodox community. Prior to the Agudah’s action, Jackson had been sued by Oros Bais Yaakov over the township’s denial of its application to a school building.
Exit from Southbound 440 to Route 9 and GSP Reopened
Lakewood area travelers used to taking the exit from Route 440 to Route 9 or the Garden State Parkway (GSP) are now able to return to their normal routes returning from Brooklyn and the surrounding areas with the completion of construction that had forced drivers to use a circuitous detour.
Since the beginning of the Fall the exit in Woodbridge had been closed. Detailed signs guided drivers through the many turns they had to take to reach the GSP and even assured them that they were indeed heading in the right direction, but the route was unfamiliar to most and added time to the trip.
The exit was reopened this Sunday, December 8.
The work being done is part of a $17 million federally funded project to repair Route 440’s bridges over Route 9 and the GSP which has been ongoing since May 2017. This leg of the project will replace the several key elements of the seven-span Driscoll Bridge.
According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, some minor work will continue over the coming week, but it should not impact traffic.
Online Comments by Jackson GOP Chair Draw Controversy
Social media comments by Carly Glory, chairwoman of Jackson Township’s chapter of the Republican Party, drew attention last week after they were publicized by an online watchdog.
In 2017, in response to a new item about accusations of financial wrongdoing by a member of the Orthodox community, an individual wrote, “They are all crooks and should be deported. They serve no good interest to America. People better start waking up before it’s too late.”
In response to a second commenter who urged the writer not to play on “stereotypes,” Mrs. Glory wrote, “No stereotyping here. Facts are facts. This is exactly what Jackson residents fear and, yes, it is already happening.”
The watchdog who publicized the comments, added that, Jackson GOP chairwomen’s comments show exactly her feelings about Jews living in Jackson,” and called for a “good cleaning” of the town’s Republican Party leadership.
TR Mayor Elect Gages Township Staff
Toms River’s Mayor-Elect Maurice “Mo” Hill’s transition team has issued letters asking 44 township employees to advise as to whether they intend to remain in the positions to serve under the incoming administration.
While some reports cast the move as an attempt to “clean house” from appointees of outgoing Mayor Thomas Kelaher, Mr. Hill insisted that the move is a standard procedure.
“We are requesting resumes to find out who is interested in staying,” he told Asbury Park Press in an interview. “There may be some people who want to retire. … It’s a common thing. Not everybody is being fired.”
Mr. Hill said that it was an opportunity for his transition team to take stock of which positions would need to be fill-such as those vacated by employees choosing to retire or resign. He also signaled that the move would gage the appointee’s commitment to pursuing the new administration’s goals.
“We want to know who is willing to work with the new administration,” read the letter. “You want people who are focused with moving ahead in the areas we’ve designated.”