Lakewood Briefs

Jackson Hit with New Lawsuit Claiming Anti-Semitic Discrimination

Jackson Township’s legal and political woes continued to mount with the filing of a new federal lawsuit claiming that its zoning board’s denial of a proposed housing development was motivated by anti-Semitism.

Jackson Trails LLC had brought their plans to build over 450 units before the town’s planning board several times, but never succeeded in winning approval with zoning board officials citing an evolving list of issues. The developers claim that the denial was motivated by strong sentiments among residents and town officials set on marring expansion of Jackson’s Orthodox Jewish community.

“The Board denied the application, bowing to severe anti-Semitic pressure from local residents and fears that Orthodox Jews may purchase homes and reside in the Development,” says the lawsuit.

Jackson Trails LLC is owned by an Orthodox Jew and the both the size of units and the inclusion of a house of worship made it clear that buyers were likely to be Orthodox.

In its filing, Jackson Trails cites a long list of hostile anti-Orthodox rhetoric form social media sources, some directly discussing its building plans. It also references several documents and statements by town officials that seem to point to a concerted effort to stymie Orthodox growth in Jackson as well as an incident where three former members of the town’s zoning board were forced to resign over their attendance at a CUPON meeting. CUOPON is a groups modeled after a similar one in Rockland County seen as hostile to housing development geared towards Orthodox Jews.

Jackson Trails’ lawsuit is being handed by Storzer and Greene, a law firm that specializes in religious land use discrimination. They are also the attorneys handling a lawsuit on behalf of the Agudath Israel of America over ordinances that created de facto bans on eruvin and new schools in Jackson.

In addition to, and partially as a result of, legal challenges, Jackson’s political leaders have been under increased scrutiny. Several FOIL requests revealed a consistant effort by former Town Council President to squeeze Orthodox life with moves that included tracking locations he suspected were being used for minyanim and alerting zoning officials to his suspicions. He was eventually added as a defendant in the Agudah lawsuit and last December, and suddenly resigned his public office.

Suspect Arrested in Robbery at Bnos Yisroel

Police apprehended a suspect who they believe is responsible for a burglary at Bnos Yisroel schools for girls as well as another recent robbery.

According to the Lakewood Police Department, Mashon D. Wilson, 29, was arrested after a search warrant was served at his home on Lynn Court, a small street between Massachusetts Avenue and River Avenue.

Mashon is accused of stealing $400 during the burglary at Bnos Yisroel two weeks ago. Police recovered 23 Samsung tablets they believe he took from an office on River Avenue in another recent break-in.

It is not Wilson’s most recent run-in with the law. In 2018, he was charged with leaving the scene of the fatal car crash that killed Habachur Yechiel Feingold, z”l.

Wilson is presently being held at the Ocean County jail.

Joint Base Designated as Quarantine Site for Coronavirus

The Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst has been designated as a potential quarantine site for those suspected of exposure to the novel coronavirus.

“This is a preventative measure,” said a spokesman for the base in a statement. “Every passenger receives multiple, thorough screenings before leaving from overseas and again upon arrival to the United States. HHS will be responsible for all care, transportation, and security of the passengers during the quarantine period. Anyone showing symptoms of the infection will be transported to an off-base medical facility for a full medical evaluation, treatment, and isolation.”

The base was selected by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The site was chosen for its proximity to Newark Airport, about an hour away, in the invent that incoming passengers are suspected of exposure. Such individuals will be housed at the base’s Doughboy Inn which can house up to 20 people. Such individuals will be boarded there for up to two weeks and will be observed by HHS personnel.

Staff stationed at the base will not be in direct contact with quarantined passengers and they will not have access to the base itself. Should the facility need to be used, no other people will be lodged at the Doughboy Inn.

No local cases of coronavirus have been reported and the threat level locally is still considered low.