Jackson Council Addresses Local, Global Issues

Council President Robert Nixon presents a proclamation honoring National Friends of Libraries week (Oct. 20-26) to Principal Librarian Marguerite Dugas, at left, and Friends of the Jackson Library President Rochelle Blum during council meeting. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  JACKSON – Council members are looking at lessening regulations when it comes to outdoor displays of township businesses.

  The governing body introduced an ordinance during its Oct. 15 meeting, amending and supplementing land use and development regulations entitled outdoor display of goods.

  The ordinance involves outdoor displays for businesses in the township. Council President Robert Nixon said “the idea is to expand opportunities for our businesses.”

  Resident Eleanor Hannum raised concerns about how the changes might impact larger corporate owned businesses such as ShopRite where she works.

  Nixon advised her to return to the public hearing of the ordinance as Township Attorney Jean Ciprani had drafted the ordinance and could explain it better. Ciprani was not present for that night’s meeting.

  The governing body also passed a resolution condemning all efforts to delegitimize the state of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the people of Israel. The Council voted on a similar worded proclamation during a May 14 council meeting condemning the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement which advocates not purchasing products from Israel.

  According to the website BDSmovement.net the Palestinian-led BDS movement is stated to be a campaign for freedom, justice and equality. “BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.”

  The website states that “Israel is occupying and colonizing Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.”

  Jackson and other federal, state and county officials along with Jewish organizations and faith leaders have condemned the BDS movement as being anti-Semitic.

  The resolution comes at a time when the township is embroiled in litigation with members of the Orthodox Jewish community concerning challenges to township development regulations.

  Nixon said after the meeting that the council was advised that the resolution “carries more weight than the proclamation we did in May.”

  Resident Stephanie Brown of South New Prospect Road applauded the council’s passage of the resolution. She noted an incident in September when two Orthodox Jewish residents were terrorized by the driver of a vehicle as they walked. The driver threatened them and used ethnic slurs. “This kind of thing has to stop,” Brown said.

“I saw a sign recently that says there is ‘no room for hate’ and while people can ignore a sign maybe it will be harder to ignore a resolution,” Brown said.

  During the meeting a resolution was approved clarifying a prior resolution for an appointee to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

  Officials also voted to authorize investigation into securing approval and submitting an application for approval from Ocean County for the installation of traffic related improvements with the county right of way.

  “Jackson has some pretty dangerous intersections and we’ve had accidents that have caused serious harm. I have had discussions with the county over this and the bureaucracy has been a very frustrating process to deal with. This is much needed,” Nixon said in relation to the need for improvements to be made to various right of ways in the community.

   A resolution authorizing a professional services contract with T&M Associates to provide engineering services for this year’s pavement project was also approved. The firm was also contracted for services for HVAC equipment evaluation for the township’s Justice Complex and Administration building.

  T&M was also authorized for a services contract to provide engineering services for the state’s Department of Transportation improvements to Central Avenue, 2019 drainage program and the agency’s improvements to Woodlane Road.

  Council members voted to authorize the preparation of advertisement and acceptance of bids for a 2018 or newer, black Ford transit vehicle for the township’s recreation department.

  During the discussion item portion of the meeting Business Administrator Terence Wall spoke about the Best Practices Checklist of township’s fire districts and the Municipal Utilities Authority.

  The governing body also noted National Friends of Libraries week with a proclamation. Nixon presented it to Rochelle Blum, the president of the Friends of the Jackson Library and Jackson branch Principal Librarian Marguerite Dugas.

  “The Friends provides money for library programs and much needed equipment and they sponsor special events. They give their time and commitment to the library,” Nixon said. Friends of the Library week is observed nationally and is held from Oct. 20 to Oct. 26.

  “It is a well-deserved and appropriate proclamation,” Councilman Ken Bressi said.