Appellate Court Rules Kamenitz Simcha Hall Doesn’t Need a Special Variance

A New Jersey Appellate Court on Thursday upheld the approval of Bais Reuven Kamenetz’s yeshiva application by the Lakewood Township Planning Board in July 2019, ruling that the school’s simcha hall can be considered an accessory use without the obtainment of a variance.

The 2-panel court determined that the simcha hall, located within the school, can be considered an accessory use because it is subordinate to the primary use of the property as a school.

“We… reject plaintiff’s claim that the Applicant required a use variance for the simcha hall under N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70(d)(1),” the court’s opinion reads.” According to the expert testimony before the Board, the simcha hall would be located in the school’s finished basement and serve as an accessory use to the school. Under Lakewood’s Uniform Development Ordinance, an “accessory use” is “[a] use . . . that is customarily incidental and subordinate to that of the principal and on the same lot.” The principal use of the lot is for a school and the Applicant provided testimony that the use of the simcha hall would be incidental and subordinate to the school as an accessory use.”

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