Chaim Sabel, the only seemingly rational member of the Board Opposed but no one would second. GO CHAIM SABEL: PERHAPS YOU SHOULD BE VOTED THE NEXT MAYOR OF LAKEWOOD.
July 21, 2021
Last night Lakewood Township Planning Board member Chaim Sabel took an almost unprecedented step upon the conclusion of testimony and public comments regarding the application to expand a shopping plaza in Lakewood. Sabel made a motion to deny the application based primarily on safety and traffic concerns and then breathlessly awaited a “second”. Alas there would be none.
Instead the Lakewood Township Planning Board did what it does best which is to ignore public concerns, ignore the general welfare of the community and ignore the shady way in which the applicant came to posses the land upon which he intends to build in granting an approval.
A concerned Lakewood resident, Mrs Summerstein, who lives adjacent to the Kikar Shabos Plaza, stood up at the Planning board and objected to the granting of Lakewood owned land, to the developer Shlomo Kanarek at ‘ZERO COST’. This effectively transfers land which is under the stewardship of Lakewood Township on behalf of the taxpaying citizens of Lakewood.
(See Attached link below to the video recording of the entire meeting which took over 3 hours. We have located the relevant part of Mrs. Summersteins comments at the beginning of minute 2:17 – 2:34. )
Unfortunately, most of Lakewood’s residents did ‘not have time to attend this important meeting’ and will unfortunately wake when it is too late.
The applicant Rabbi Kanarek—the owner of Kikar Shabbos Plaza—whose interest here appears to be his commercial real estate enterprise, seems to get Planning Board approval for all his projects, regardless of communal objections.
Rabbi Kanarek’s partner in Regency Development, Mr. Abe Auerbach has allegedly told one of the neighbors “if you do not work with us, we will make your life miserable”.
It is also alleged, that Rabbi Kanarek, owner of several schools in Lakewood, summoned to his office those parents who objected to his application. Those reached out to have so far been ‘unwilling’ to confirm.
Additionally, each time a resident objected to this project during this meeting, Auerbach demanded the clock be turned on, so that the speaker will be limited to a 4 minute comment. The applicant on the other hand, was granted unlimited time for his responses.
There is something wrong with the rules of conduct in hearings by the Planning board, being rigged to the advantage of the applicant.
Until residents decide to rise up to this apparent corruption, the interests of the few will continue to override and negatively affect the interests of Lakewood residents. Shouts of semitism will not work here. Those shouting are ‘religious concerned everyday citizens of Lakewood.
Lakewood Township MUST re-act appropriately or face the music that will play at the ballot boxes on ELECTION DAY.
As the saying goes, “THROW THE BUMS OUT!” Let’s get some ‘concerned citizens’ to help the people of Lakewood run it by popular consent rather than what appears to be a self interested Lakewood administration. ‘GO CHAIM SABEL’
The planning board needed to consider a number of required variances that included a minimum Front Yard Setback Variance and a minimum Side Yard Setback Variance. Township code requires a 25 foot front yard setback and the proposed plan allowed just 1.13 feet. Similarly, township code requires a 10 foot side yard setback and the proposed plan allowed for just 1 foot. Neither proved to be a significant obstacle for planning board members.
When the subject of parking came up, members of the public raised serious questions, questions that the planning board engineering firm raised in their review letter of the project.
“The Parking Calculations must be clarified. Square footage for the uses in the existing buildings on site must be provided to confirm the parking requirements. The site plans indicate that based on 23,782 square feet of retail space proposed at one (1) space per two hundred square feet (200 SF), 36,302 square feet of office space proposed at one (1) space per two hundred fifty square feet (250 SF), and ten (10) daycare employees proposed at one (1) space per employee, two hundred seventy-five (275) off-street parking spaces are required.
The site plan proposes two hundred seventy-nine (279) off-street parking spaces. However, the proposed parking calculation includes spaces that are not located within the project boundaries. Our site investigation also notes that the parking currently existing is deficient from a practical standpoint.”
One member of the public went so far as to cite the difference between township parking allocation for retail space (1 space per 200 square feet) and the required allocation for a proposed restaurant expansion (1 space per 50 square feet). His concerns were met with silence.
There were minor concessions made regarding entrances and exits, neighborhood residents were especially concerned with trucks entering the site from 4th Street. In response the applicant has agreed to…get this…reduce the size of the 4th Street entrance to make it impossible for trucks to enter and to post “NO TRUCKS” signs at the entrance. That should work until traffic on 2nd Street is such that trucks cannot enter there and instead choose to jump curbs and enter on 4th Street, probably wiping out the NO TRUCKS sign in the process.
Once public comment concluded, the planning board granted its approval on a number of minor conditions.
Clearly upset, after the meeting two members of the public were discussing the possibility of filing a lawsuit to overturn the approval, not unprecedented in Lakewood these days.
You can see the entire meeting (be aware it is 3 hours long) on this link. We have however retrieved the minutes marker in which a Lakewood Resident complains bitterly of all of this builder abuse. The minutes are at 2:17 to 2:34, and a subsequent comment at 2:35
Additionally, MosheZeines inquired of the ‘Board’s attorney on whether they considered that there would be adequate parking. In the application, the applicant proposes only 93 additional spaces. However it is reported that the applicant intends to have a small ‘affairs’ facility on the second floor of the addition.
Such an addition would require more parking as the area in question would be approximately 4300 sq feet. On the average a space that size can facilitate usage for a little more than 300 people.
This would require significantly more than the proposed 93 total parking spaces. To this the attorney responded that the 4300 sq. feet considered has to be subtracted by the space needed for kitchen and bathroom.
This is a clear obfuscation. Even if the space left over is enough for 100 people, that technically uses all the parking space available. If you were to apply a formula that 100 people use 50 cars, that still takes up more than half the available space for parking. He also has not configured space for employees of this facility.
Mr. Kanarik cited his day care center—Ready Set Grow, as an example where he has only 10 employees which would make this issue a moot point regarding the ‘Small Affairs’ facility. However this is not accurate at all as his Day Care center has many more than 10 employees.
This is clearly an issue that should NOT be disregarded by the Township.