OPINION: Developers hire con artists to push their way through but you can fight back!


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Stay involved – Here is how

Not many residents of Lakewood attend the meetings of the various monthly and bi-monthly boards that take place in the municipal building.

Most of these meetings, in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, are open to the public and members may speak up at specific parts of the meetings. The meeting agendas are posted a few days in advance, on the township website.

Here are a couple of things that happened (or didn’t happen as they rightfully should have) because no one spoke up at the proper meetings.

When a property owner goes before the planning or zoning board for an approval to build on his property, he is required, by township ordinance, to properly pave the roads (known as paper streets) that front on all sides of his property.

For example, in the illustration below, if the owner of lot 183 wants to build a school on his lot, which is on County Line Road, he will be required to pave Clayton Street, Elkins Street, and Major Avenue. Eventually, when the owner of lot 181 wants to build on his property, he would be required to pave his portion of Elkins and Dunsmore. This would provide a new ‘through road’ from County Line to Kennedy Blvd, and would free up traffic congestion on other nearby roads. This would also provide for more on Street parking in the area.

The planning and zoning boards have the authority, upon request of the applicant, to waive the requirement to pave the paper streets. These road waivers are what cause more traffic congestion and limit the on Street parking, especially around big shuls and schools where that is needed.

An example of the problem these waivers caused, is on Vermont Ave between Essex and Oak Streets. All the adjacent property owners received waivers for improving their portion of Vermont Ave, and therefore Vine Street gets all the congestion.

Another Township ordinance requires the builders to build 4 feet wide sidewalks, and curbs on all roads that front their property. This is an ordinance that the boards often grant waivers for when the developers ask for a waiver.

There is a lot on James Street that also fronts Ridgeway/Drake Road in the back. By township ordinance, the property owner, when applying for site plan approval, would be responsible to provide a curb and sidewalk on both James and Drake.

In February 2018, this specific lot was at the planning board, and you can read below in the minutes from that meeting where the applicant’s attorney told the planning board that the neighbors requested of us to “maintain the rural setting of the road” and not to properly widen the road, install curb or sidewalk.

Firstly, I ask you, do you not want a curb and sidewalk on your road?? Do you know anyone who would beg developers not to install a sidewalk so their children can walk safely in front of their house??

But even more troubling, in December 2018, a letter was posted in the Ask The Mayor column on The Lakewood Scoop from a resident of Drake Road complaining about the dilapidated road they live on!!

Today, in the Ask The Mayor column on The Lakewood Scoop, this comes up again…

Is it truly possible that other neighbors on the block do want to maintain their dilapidated road as is, or are these developers and their “professionals” taking us for a ride and unfairly speaking up in our name??

The zoning board (which meets only once monthly) is meeting this Monday night at 7:00 pm and the planning board (which meets bi-monthly) is meeting this Tuesday night at 6:00 pm. Both meetings are in the big courtroom in the municipal building at 231 3rd Street.

The only one who can speak for ourselves – is us!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of GreaterLakewood.

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  1. Thank you for speaking – i think 99% of the community agrees with you – the 1% is the developers & politicians!

    • I beg to differ. Since the guy in eagle ridge was beaten up – no more beatings are going to happen. The FBI is way too deep in everything

  2. Edited by admin to be appropriate to publish: It’s Flannery and the greedy developers that destroyed lakewood and have caused the majority of our problems with our neighbors. Enough is enough let’s take our town back!!!

    • I don’t blame the developers, their job is to develop. I blame the politicians, whose job it is to serve the public, yet completely ignore them

  3. Another topic. On Saturday there was an overturned accident on 70.What happen? Not a word after cleanup. Safe?

  4. Thank you for reporting on this GL. These selfish developers, together with the members of our Township who have failed to enforce zoning ordinances have destroyed the quality of life for so many of us. Perhaps just as bad, they have given the anti-Semitic hate group, RUOC, a platform on which to stand.

  5. Is there a way to require the members of the zoning board be directly voted in by the public? They are making significant decisions affecting our quality of life, they should be chosen directly by the people.
    The township committee will always be decided by “askonim” but we should at least be able to choose the zoning board.

    • As if elections will make a difference. Those who hired those zoning officials were elected, does that make a difference.

  6. I hope that you are aware that articles like this border, if not outright transgress, Mesirah.
    You should run your articles by a competent Posek.

    • Why is this messira? We are perfectly entitled to claim that they are not working in our interests. Nobody is doing anything illegal over here. Nobody is even claiming that. Just that it is wrong and we must stop it.

  7. My question is how the same planning engineer is still allowed to be considered an expert witness and testify at all, aside for the fact that there is plenty of historical data to prove his testimony as incompetent at best, and fraudulent at worst, I have personally witnessed him perjure himself

    He testified that a variance should be given on a particular lot to allow duplexes, because “no one will want to build single family homes on that lot” and in the same hearing, testified for a single family development on the adjacent property. It isn’t as if no one noticed the hypocrisy, the members of the zoning board actually laughed about it. They shoulln’t have laughed, they should have banned him from testifying in Lakewood.

  8. The developers are working in their interests, and the people need to start working in their interests. This isn’t personal, this is each person doing what is best for them

    When we learn that we can vote for our own interests, not other people’s, we will be able to deal with these things without machlokes and sinas chinom. We do not have to have the same interests as developers and we are not increasing hatred by announcing that we do not want congestion in our town.

  9. This article should not be titled under “Opinion”, it’s a blatant fact. Kudos to Greater Lakewood for speaking out. I’m now on the GL bandwagon!


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