Efforts by Agudath Israel to fight back against Jackson Township’s discrimination against Orthodox Jews paid off big time tonight. Moments ago, the Planning Board – after a contentious meeting – gave its stamp of approval to a redrawing of the township’s masterplan which will make it far easier to erect shuls and schools in Jackson’s environs.
The move is part of the township’s agreement to settle a 2021 discrimination lawsuit filed the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office against the Township which accused it of using zoning laws and ordinances to make religious life difficult for Orthodox Jews, and to deter them from moving to Jackson.
With the Planning Board’s approval, the Masterplan Reexamination Report will go on to the Jackson Township Council, where ordinances can be introduced and passed and sent back to the Planning Board for approval. The ordinances will not require approval from the Zoning Board.
Under the proposed Masterplan Reexamination Report approved by the Planning Board tonight, the Township is recommended to pass an ordinance permitting dorms in certain zones to settle the Attorney General’s lawsuit, as well as to allow shuls and mikvaos in new areas, in an effort to resolve Agudah’s lawsuit.
Here are the highlights of the Masterplan Reexamination Report:
1. Permit schools as permitted use in the R-2, R-3, R-5, R-9, R-15, R-20, MF, PV, RG-2, RG-3, RD-1, PM-1, LM, I, NC, and LC zoning districts.
2. Where appropriate, permit institutions of higher learning as a permitted use in the PM-1, I, LM, PV, RG-2, RG-3, NC, and LC zoning districts.
3. Establish an overlay zone to permit higher learning institutions on parcels zoned R-3 and R-5 with frontage on the following roadways: Bennetts Mills Road (from West Veterans Highway to Howell Township border), Cedar Swamp Road (entire length), Farmingdale Road (between Pfister Road and Howell Township border), Frank Applegate Road (between Bennetts Mills Road and Jackson Mills Road), Thompson Bridge Road (entire length), Harmony Road (between County Line Road and Hyson Road), Jackson Mills Road (between Freehold Township and East Commodore Boulevard).
4. Where appropriate, permit dormitories and student residences as an accessory use in a new R- 3/R-5 overlay zone, PV, RG-2, RG-3, PM-1, LM, I, NC, and LC zoning districts.
5. Where appropriate, permit houses of worship as a permitted use in the R-1, R-2, R-3, R-5, R-9, R-15, R-20, RG-2, RG-3, PMURD, MF, HC, RD-1, LC and NC zoning districts.
6. Where appropriate, permit religious bath facilities as an accessory use in the R-1, R-2, R-3, R-5, R-9, R-15, R-20, R-30, MF, PV, RG-2, RG-3, RD-1, PM-1, LM, PMURD, MUNC, and I zoning districts.
7. Where appropriate, permit religious bath facilities as a permitted use in the NC, HC, and LC zoning districts.