JACKSON – The Township Planning Board installed a new chairman during their reorganization meeting held earlier this month. They also changed their attorney but no development applications were heard during the session.
Tzvi Herman will now wield the gavel as chairman of the board. This marks Herman’s first time in that role. He was unanimously voted to serve as chairman by his fellow board members.
Joining him on the Board are Jeffrey Riker who represents the Jackson Environmental Commission, Business Administrator Terence Wall, Township Council President Martin Flemming, members Joseph Sullivan, Michelle Campbell, Leonard Haring Jr., Mordechai Burnstein, and the mayor’s designee Ken Bressi.
Any development has to come before the planning board for approval before they begin construction.
Last year’s Planning Board Chairman Robert Hudak and Board member Noah Canderozzi are no longer part of the panel.
Campbell was nominated and unanimously elected to serve as the board’s vice chairwoman during the meeting.
While the mayor, Michael Reina, is a member of the panel, he designates a representative to sit on the Board for him. Bressi, a former councilman, will serve in that capacity in 2023.
Lisa DeMarzo and Shimshon Heller serve as alternate members of the Planning Board this year. They will serve when a regular member or members are absent during a meeting.
Replacing Board Attorney Sean Gertner, who was recently named as a State Superior Court judge, is Robert Shea who was unanimously approved as the panel’s attorney this year.
Also unanimously approved for reappointment were Doug Klee of the firm Owen, Little and Associates, Beachwood, as the board’s engineer and Ernie Peters, of the firm Remington and Vernick Engineers, Toms River, as the board’s planner and traffic engineer.
Development On Agenda
On the Board’s agenda are several applications (plans by developers) that were carried over from last year.
Those applications include the Bellevue Estates LLC which would take 443 Leesville Road and subdivide it into four lots. Revised plans for this application are expected to be presented to the Board.
Related to that project is the final major site plan to build four private schools. Revised plans for this application are also anticipated to be provided for review by Board professionals.
Mayor Reina announced in October that the township had negotiated successfully to acquire a 32-acre farm on Leesville Road, where the four private schools are proposed.
“We have been successful in negotiating with the owners of this Leesville Road property with the intent of having the township acquire this parcel of land,” Mayor Reina said at the time. “As details are being finalized with the landowners, no additional information is available at this time.”
“My priority is to protect existing neighborhoods within Jackson Township and to protect and honor the rights of all Jackson residents. We have found a way to achieve both outcomes with this agreement once it is finalized and approved,” the mayor said.
The mayor told The Jackson Times after the November election when he won reelection, “if we can leverage open space trust funds, we can do land swap deals and this one was a perfect match. We put that deal together in seven days. Right now, there is talks of a contract being drawn up which is music to my ears.”
He noted a move last year by the Township Council to purchase property as part of preservation effort for $8.1 million. “To stop the building of eight homes that doesn’t make any sense to me. It cost us basically zero dollars to take four schools out of Leesville and put them on another side of town.”
The mayor vetoed the $8.1 million plan approved by the Council last year, and “that open space trust fund should be back to $6 million and we can leverage that with bonds with less of an impact.
“We were fortunate as a township and the Leesville section was very fortunate that the administration never gave up. We looked at new and innovative ways to go ahead and preserve land that is valuable to the residents,” the mayor added.
“The Council is part of it but they aren’t part of the negotiations,” the mayor said regarding the 443 Leesville Road property owned by Bellevue Estates, LLC. The owner’s application is currently before the Jackson Planning Board.
Testimony is also scheduled to be heard at the next meeting, concerning the Bennetts Mills Realty, LLC application at 28 Johnson Lane and 234 Bennetts Mills Road for the construction of Johnson Lane Daycare and Medical Center.
An application for County Line Construction, Sams Road, for a previously approved preliminary and final major subdivision is set for that same meeting as is an application for 135 Commodore, LLC 135 East Commodore Boulevard for a proposed contractor’s office that would also include a garage, a warehouse, a showroom and a shop.