New Jersey Orthodox high school ordered closed over zoning dispute

Judge grants school the possibility to reopen if it meets a safety inspection.

Dan Verbin, Canada ,

New Jersey State Capitol Building.jpg
New Jersey State Capitol Building.jpg
iStock

A New Jersey Orthodox high school has been ordered to temporary close in order to comply with Planning Board approval, pending an inspection and other regulatory hurdles, the Asbury Park Press reported.

In his ruling, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Craig Wellerson left open the possibility that the Brick, New Jersey religious high school for boys could reopen soon if it meets state codes.

On Monday, he ordered the township of Brick to conduct a safety inspection of the high school that belongs to Congregation Kehilos Yisroel. The school is located in the former Temple Beth Or building, a Brick official told Brick Shorebeat.

According to local media reports, the school was ordered closed by Wellerson for safety issues and until township inspectors could conduct a safety inspection.

Brick officials had taken their case to court seeking the school’s closure until the Planning Board could conduct a review of the matter and decide whether to approve the school.

The judge did not grant the township’s full request, instead ruling that the high school could reopen if “safety issues” were resolved, including the inspection.

He also told the school it had until October 15 to file a site plan application.

The case has been ongoing for some time, with many neigbhors not on board with the new high school. Residents surrounding the school have voiced complaints that a new school, with a significant group of students, was opened with no formal approval process or notice, Asbury Park Press reported.

In March, the Temple Beth Or property was sold to Lakewood, New Jersey-based Congregation Kehilos Yisroel for $3.6 million, according to county records.

The 2.5 acre property includes a parking lot for more than 100 vehicles, space for over 200 people, and a huge gym, according to the real estate listing from the sale.

On Monday evening, over 30 residents of the area staged a protest outside the school, chanting “Illegal school, cannot rule” and “We are no fools. Illegal dorms, illegal school."

Neigbhors said they were upset that the property was not zoned for dormitory use. Others said they were angry that the property had not gone through the proper procedures to change from a synagogue to a school and said it was a “quiet neighborhood.”

Another resident, Richard Margolies, 60, told the angry crowd that he was in favor of the school.

"Since these guys have taken over, they've renovated the exterior. They planted flowers. They made it look beautiful. So I don't understand the problem with having a school here," Margolies said.

He pointed out there was another school nearby with “hundreds of buses going up and down.”

He said he believed anti-Semitism was a large factor in the group’s opposition to the school.

His opinion caused a fierce argument from protestors and police had to be called.

Staff and 50 students watched the scene unfold from school grounds across the street.

A second court hearing on the high school’s case is taking place on Wednesday.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Yom Kippur in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)



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