BRICK – A high school for ultra-orthodox Jewish boys will remain shut down if, and until, the owner, David Gluck and the congregation Kehilos Yisroel, submit a site plan and a use variance before the township’s Board of Adjustment, who must approve the application before the school could reopen.
An agreement was reached on November 4 between Superior Court Judge Craig L. Wellerson and the operators of the school to keep the school closed until December 20 when the Township’s Board of Adjustment will hear their application.
The school was being run at the site of the former Temple Beth Or at 200 Van Zile Road, which was sold to the Lakewood group for $3.6 million in March. The school for boys was being operated without obtaining township permits or safety inspections.
Gluck has also purchased several homes in the area that have allegedly been used as dorms for the students. This case will be heard before the Brick municipal court.
A November 9 hearing on the dorm use and overcrowding of 91 Hendrickson Avenue (one of the homes) was adjourned until December 13 at 10 a.m. after Township Prosecutor Lani Lombardi was unable to transmit files of discovery documents to Gluck’s attorney Adam Pfeffer since they were too large to email.
During the November 9 council meeting, resident Joe Orth of Cleveland Avenue said that he and his neighbors were expecting that a court-ordered complete site plan and application would be submitted before Judge Wellerson.
Township Business Administrator Joanne Bergin said Judge Wellerson tasked Brick Township with setting a date for a special hearing where all seven members of the Board of Adjustment would be present. At that time the applicant would file a complete application for a site plan and a variance, she said.
Gluck would have until the week ending November 12 to submit the full application, and the township has set the special meeting date of December 20 at 7 p.m., Bergin said. (In the anticipation of a large crowd, the Board of Adjustment hearing will be held at the Civic Plaza).
Orth asked if a traffic study would be part of the application. Bergin said that while a traffic study is not part of an application, it would be part of the testimony the applicant would present during the hearing.
If the applicant does not meet the deadline for the application submission, it would create a hardship for the township professionals to prepare their reports in time for the December 20 hearing, “…so I would expect our attorney would vehemently stress how difficult it is for them not to have met that deadline,” Bergin said. “The judge was very clear on his expectations.”
Meanwhile, the school stays closed, said Mayor John G. Ducey.
“That’s the key to the whole thing – the judge has said the school will stay closed, so that’s what we asked for, and the judge has been with us with that,” he said during the council meeting.
Orth asked about the municipal hearing regarding local homes being used as dormitories.
“I find it almost unfathomable at this point that the Brick prosecutor couldn’t provide discovery documents to David Gluck’s lawyer Adam Pfeffer in a timely fashion, and that’s in the two weeks from the last delay by Gluck,” Orth said.
“I’m hoping that you will oversee the delivery of the materials by December 13 so this will continue the process…and this could move forward a little bit,” Orth said to the governing body.
Mayor Ducey said that Code Enforcement checks the homes in question periodically, and there have been no students living there since September 10.
The next council meeting will be on Tuesday, November 23 at 7 p.m.