Dormitory Vote Pushed To Thursday

The last meeting was standing room only. The meeting was set for tonight but is being moved to Thursday. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

JACKSON – The blizzard that wasn’t pushed the Jackson Township council meeting from Tuesday night’s regularly scheduled time to Thursday. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in the municipal building’s main meeting room, 95 W. Veteran’s Highway.

Council will have its second reading and vote on two ordinances, one of which will ban dormitories from all zones within the township.

Orthodox Jewish men and women came out to speak against the ordinance, saying it targets their community. Jewish secondary schools and universities are often paired with dormitories for students to live in.

The ordinance defines dormitories as “any building, or portion thereof, designed or converted to contain living quarters which are provided as residences or for overnight sleeping for individuals or groups operated as an accessory use to a school, college, university, boarding school, convent, monastery, non-profit educational institution, religious order, or other.”

The planning board at its March 6 meeting deemed both ordinances consistent with Jackson’s master plan and other land use laws.

Jackson Town Hall (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

An attorney with the Washington, D.C.-based group, Storzer & Associates, Robert L. Greene wrote in a letter to the editor to The Asbury Park Press that the ordinances are “religious gerrymandering,” and warned the township to expect a lawsuit.

The Jackson Times put an inquiry in with his office asking who specifically he was hired by. There was no response as of this writing.

Council president Kenneth Bressi said he is aware of the letter, but does not know if there’s been any direct contact between these attorneys and the township. He said the township attorney believes the ordinance is sound. However, he said, the ordinances aren’t adopted yet, so it’s premature to discuss lawsuits.