Sunday, April 2, 2017

TBL: weekly column

Take Back Lakewood- weekly update, busy week ahead

Zoning Board Meeting Monday April 3rd
There will be a Zoning Board meeting on Monday April 3rd at 7:00. Applications include 8 duplex lots on James St. (16 families and 32 cars), 4 duplex lots on Dewey (8 families and 16 cars) and 8 single family at White/Cross. Reminder—Spot zoning is illegal!!

Planning Board Meeting Tuesday April 4th
Lakewood Shopping Village (AKA BMG Mall)
There will be a planning board meeting on Tuesday April 4th at 6:00. The first item on the agenda is SP 2218 Lakewood Shopping Village (LSV) which will begin promptly at 6:00. On March 10th a new agreement was signed between Pine River Village and LSV in which LSV agreed not to have any entrances to the shopping center on Pine Street. The only openings to the parking lot will be on Ave of the States. On March 24th, revised plans were submitted by LSV to the planning board eliminating the Pine Street entrance and providing updated data regarding the shopping center.

There are many significant concerns that have not yet been addressed. The original application said that besides for the 187,020 Square Feet (SF) of shopping space, there will be a basement with another 187,000 SF of basement space. The applicant calculated 1 spot per 225 SF for a required 832 spaces and they are providing 898 spots. They are neglecting to calculate the parking for the basements. Even if the basements are just storage and even if they want to argue that it should be based on warehouse requirements (faulty logic) it would require 1 spot per 1,000 SF or 187 spots leaving them short 121 parking spots!! A subsequent plan had conflicting information regarding whether there will or will not be basements.

We obtained an email where a planning board member voiced many concerns with the application including the fact that no architectural designs have been provided. The traffic study has not been properly updated to reflect the change in regards to closing the Pine Street entrance. The traffic analysis uses a 1% growth rate which we know is not representative of the Lakewood community. There are concerns that 18 wheeler trucks will be entering and exiting the parking lot mingling with cars and creating an extremely dangerous situation. Additionally, the applicant made numerous changes to the plans and the planning board’s engineer did not have sufficient time to review the updated plans and provide comments. In a March 21 email, the Planning Board Administrator cautioned that without proper reviewed plans and with numerous lingering questions, perhaps the application should be pushed off. The Board Engineer responded that he is leaning toward pushing off the application. Astonishingly, the applicants attorney insisted that they will surge forward with the application forcing the board into the uncomfortable position of voting on an application with many unresolved issues.

Despite many lingering unknowns, the largest application that Lakewood has seen in years is heading toward a hearing. Although PRV residents are now not allowed to oppose it (bound by their faulty agreement), many other residents from the broad Pine St. area plan to attend the meeting and vocally oppose the shopping center.

Opposition within the Yeshiva community
Although BMG maintains that this project is to benefit the yeshiva and on behalf of the talmidei hayeshiva, there is a significant segment of the yeshiva community which opposes this plan on the grounds that they feel that such a project is contradictory to the values that the yeshiva stands for. 

Township Committee meeting April 6th
There will be a Township Committee meeting on Thursday April 6th at 7:30. Months ago a CAFRA application was submitted for 222 apartments and 263 houses in industrial park. On finding out that the township still owns that land and was in the process of selling it to a private developer, Mayor Coles made the right decision and revoked the sales contract. Unfortunately, he now appears to be considering re-approving the sale.  Legal notices were posted in the APP this past week indicating that the applicant is proceeding with his CAFRA applications. This indicates that Mayor Coles may make a costly mistake in an election year and allow 485 units to be built in industrial park scaring away more businesses. Luckily, there are other candidates that you can vote for instead.

Township Committee Candidates for Primaries
The deadline to submit a petition to run for township committee as a republican or democrat is April 3rd. This year, besides for the Republican Club picks (Delia and Berman) and the Democratic Club picks (Coles and Raitzik) there are several others who are running for the republican and democratic seats as well and they will be challenging the clubs candidates for their parties seats. The primaries are on June 6th and the 4 winners (2 democrats and 2 republicans) will go on to compete for the 2 open seats in the general election on November 7th. Stay tuned for more information after April 3rd.

Anyone in NJ can sign up for mail in ballots. It is a convenient way to vote from the comfort of your home in advance. Fill out the registration form at These votes are counted and we encourage people to sign up for mail in ballots to increase easy public participation in the elections. Check off option A in box 10 to ensure that you are signed up for all elections this year and not just one.

If you are not yet registered to vote, you must register by 5/16/17 to participate in the June 6th primaries. Both Democrats and Unaffiliated may vote in the democratic primary and both Republicans and Unaffiliated may vote in the Republican Primary. Go to to register to vote. After attempting to convince our elected officials including Mayor Coles to act in the interests of the taxpayers and residents, they seem to have chosen a path that ignores the needs of the residents of Lakewood. After 15 years with the same committeeman,  the time has come to vote in new committeemen who are committed to acting as representatives for all of Lakewood. The time is ripe and Lakewood needs to band together to vote in new committeemen and finally bring positive change.

Golf Club CAFRA application dealt a blow by  NJ DEP
A letter written by Colleen Keller, Assistant Director of the NJ DEP Division of Land use regulation dealt a heavy blow to the application seeking to build  over 1,800 houses on the site of Eagle Ridge Golf Club. The letter states that  “the project is not designed in accordance” with state environmental regulations. It goes on to list  10 significant problems that were found with the application. A public hearing will be scheduled to hear the concerns of the public.


  1. The LSV will no doubt be approved as they are not asking for any variances. If the planning board were to vote against it, the applicant can go to court and simply win as this is as of right. The BIG QUESTION however is, why is this a permitted use? Why can’t the planning board vote against it? Why would that win in court? The answer lies in the township committee. Pressure must be applied to the committeemen how they allowed the change of ordinance to allow retail when BMG bought the property (b'kesef moleh = $1.00) from the township at a rate to bring jobs to Lakewood. They weren't given the property to enrich themselves which is exactly what they are doing now. Anyone that was at the township meeting a couple of months ago when they discussed this project can clearly remember the shock and outrage of some committeemen that they were duped into approving a "small scale" retail area. Can anyone remember that Mr. Ackerman said he was duped? Can anyone remember that Mr. Ackerman said he will have to look into how he was misled by the people pushing this development? Did anyone hear what the outcome was? Did Mr. Ackerman say anything since that meeting? Or perhaps was he hushed up? How about Mr. Coles outrage? Has he been hushed up as well? To me, "the silence is deafening".
    Perhaps this is the reason why they scheduled the planning board meeting 2 days "before" the planning board meeting.
    The only way we can stop this madness is to apply pressure on the committeemen. This will get approved unless we can somehow figure out a way to get the committeemen to publicly say they are against it. This way the planning board members can oppose it
    The only way the planning board members can possibly oppose it with the current ordinance that allows retail is to hire a reputable traffic engineer that will demonstrate what this will do to the entire area and how this will devastate half of Lakewood’s population. This is the only way we have a chance to stop this madness.

  2. I used to feel it was inappropriate for who is building this mall to build it. I have been thinking about it and I realized it is only an Ayin Roh. We should be mechazek them and don't bite the hand who feeds you.

    1. Agree no reason the olam can't fargin that yeshiva should make some money. A few unraitzers made a tumul. We should all support and stand behind the yeshiva.

    2. I'm guessing you guys didn't see the signs hanging in Yeshiva today....

    3. Why don't you post them?

    4. the pashkevillin were hanging in Yeshiva this past shabbos the opposition is very strong from within.

  3. "Lakewood Shopping Village (AKA BMG Mall)"
    Oy gevalt what is this world coming to?? Whats next BMG bank? then what? pizza shop, used auto parts, shoe factory, competition with Amazon??

  4. Agree no reason the Bnei torah olam can't fargin that yeshiva turns into a business and should make some money, and CEO's and other fat cats on top rake it in. A few yeshivalite unraitzers made a tumul. We should all support and stand behind the yeshiva no matter what they do. after all did you not get your eighty bucks this week?? Now let others make the millions they need.

  5. Harold HerskowitzApril 2, 2017 at 9:44 PM

    This project has sucked the spirit out of Lakewood for over 20 years. How can any of the people involved claim that they have the klals best interests at heart. They have caused a chillul Hashem, and stolen from the tzibur in countless ways, and made taxpayers pay the bill.

    Seven years ago when I was convinced to allow my name to be used in a Cedarbridge lawsuit, only to regret the decision the next day, I had someone going to RAV SHTEIMAN to ask him how he felt about having my name on the lawsuit. As I said before , RAV SHTEIMAN told me that I should not have my name on such a thing. I was relieved and thankful for that decision.

    What I never wrote before was the other thing our Gadol Hador said. He told me that he is well versed in the matter. He said he believes what they are doing is wrong and they will not prevail. He gave me a brocha for removing my name and said the matter will be resolved regardless. He sounded quite upset about the matter.
    I hope that the one thing everyone takes from this chapter in Lakewoods history is to learn that sometimes those pretending to be in charge of the best interests of the klal, truly care only about themselves .
    I hope the planning board understands that they represent the best interests of all the people of Lakewood. They should also understand that this project should be rejected for the good of our town and show the people that those saying they care about all of us are willing to sue each and every taxpayer so they can get a free pass .

  6. Malls all over the country are failing financially, why would anyone think its a good idea.

  7. Does anyone realize that the 1000 plus children that will live in the Airport Rd. project are just downwind from the LOW smoke stack exhaust of the CO GEN plant. Young tender lungs inhaling toxins,brought to you by the same corrupt leaders that brought the plant here (after considerable PAYOFFS to our visionary leaders). The co gen is rite next to these 100's of proposed homes. WAKE up Lakewood! Does anyone care about the health of our children????

  8. How are the million $$$ Lear jet Hangers doing in our TINY airport. Sad that Cedar Bridge is turning into one Pothole after another. I know , our brilliant leaders have their priorities as our roads become more Dangerous every Day, but at least we'll have lear jet service

  9. The bmg mall will COST taxpayers a fortune as it will be forever in tax abatement la la land. Who cares,it's the little people who foot the bill, gee I hope the next generation can Pay the enormous TAX burden created by the greedy ,shortsighted fools that control our lives. After giving builders a FREE Pass on ANY infrastructure improvements for YEARS, Guess who will be paying for all the proposed stop lites, etc, being proposed by Maser eng. for the expensive traffic study, that will simply turn Lakewood into one HUGE parking lot. Why folks it's you and me and our children that will be paying for a vey long time to have the privilege to sit in traffic jams and watch the scoop show us another Deadly car accident

  10. Would you want your children living next to a toxic power plant spewing out tons of toxins into their Lungs. Folks,, Airport Rd. is an INDUSTRIAL park with tenants that work with toxic chemicals, not some Shangrilla for Kollel families. I guess,for people in Boro Park this must be Heaven


    Check out the petition on TakeBackLakewood. What a bizayon that BMG is moving on this plan. What would Rav Aharon have said? A great credit to the Gaon Rav Yerucham that he is doing what is right. The oilam really has had enough.

    Hefkervelt, I think this deserves a post of its own...

  12. What does pashkvrllin help in the yeshiva now that itd bein hazmanim. Nobody from yeshiva will be showing up to the meeting. For the sake of the good people of lakewood , i hope it gets postponed to after yom tov.