BRICK – An Orthodox Jewish boys school that opened without Planning Board approval has been sued by a law firm representing Brick Township.
Congregation Kehilos Yisroel Inc. of Lakewood purchased the former Temple Beth Or on Van Zile Road in March for $3.6 million. In May, neighbors told township officials that the former temple was being used as a private boy’s school.
While private schools are permitted in the neighborhood, the temple’s new owners need to go before the Planning Board in order to change the building’s use, according to township officials.
“The new owners have confirmed that the (former) Temple Beth Or site is now being rented and used as a private boy’s high school,” Brick Business Administrator Joanne Bergin told the Press in an email last week.
Neither the new owners nor their legal counsel responded to requests seeking comment.
On Friday, attorney Ronald Cucchiaro of the Weiner Law Group, which represents Brick, filed a complaint in Superior Court, Toms River, accusing the congregation of “refus(ing) to comply with the requirements of the Brick zoning and land use ordinances and refus(ing) to apply for proper approvals before the land use board with jurisdiction.”
The lawsuit asks the court to force the school to close until it obtains proper approvals to operate. The claim also seeks to recoup legal costs and associated expenses.
Attorney Adam Pfeffer of Levin Shea Pfeffer & Goldman in Jackson represents the new owners, according to Cucchiaro. Pfeffer did not respond to a request for comment.
The former temple sits on 2.5 acres, has more than 100 on-site parking spaces, seating for more than 200 people and includes a large gymnasium, according to a real estate listing of the temple’s sale.
Brick Zoning Officer Christopher Romano said last week that he attempted to schedule a phone conference with the new owners, but was unsuccessful. As a result, he mailed notices of violation to the congregation, he said.