Hundreds Expected to Attend Lakewood School Application Hearing in Jackson

1The Jackson Zoning Board on Wednesday evening will be holding a hearing for the Oros Lakewood girls high school proposed last month. 

In anticipation of the hundreds expected to attend the meeting, the Board has moved the hearing to take place at the Jackson Memorial High School.

Hundreds last month jammed the Municipal auditorium last month as the plans to build a 400-student school building at the Lakewood-Jackson border was unveiled.

2The property in question – a 7.5 acre lot on Cross Street – was once a well-kept horse farm, but today it is a home to transients and littered with debris, broken down machinery and dilapidated chicken coops.

The Oros girls school application proposed building the school in two phases, with the second phase including a basketball court and swimming pool. The proposition would require several variances. [TLS. Photo credits: Phil Stilton, Ocean Signal]

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  1. Jackson is in full-blown panic mode over this. Is it just me, or are others also seeing more and more articles and comments in places such as the (moderated) stating that the “Hasids” pay no taxes, are solely responsible for the Board of Ed’s budget shortfall, and list all their homes as synangogues?

    As someone who pays over $10,000 in property taxes, as so many in our community do, these claims are very frustrating. Yes, I have 3 children who get busing, and that is supposed to be bankrupting the township. My parents recently moved to the Pine River Adult community, they pay close to $7,000 a year, and obviously they and their neighbors don’t use the board of Ed services at all. I don’t expect a thank-you note for the millions of dollars the new housing projects are generating, but this is nuts.
    Even worse than the articles are the comments. One of my favorites stated that they “will devour you, ransack your land, and destroy any feeling of well-being as peace in your community.” Comment after comment on article after article laments how the “hasids” destroy towns, don’t follow any laws, don’t care about anyone else. Yes, the orthodox community could improve in the way we relate to our neighbors, and I don’t approve of everything our leadership does, but this is one-sided overkill. Check out the Jackson facebook watchdog page to see the Jackson Township welcome wagon for Oros Bais Yaakov. They recently scrubbed the anti-semitic comments for fear it would harm their cause, but wow, are they something else. Not that I’m surprised. I stopped taking my kids to parks in Jackson a long time ago, because who needs people looking at you like you are dirt on the bottom of their shoes?

    We need to do something about these attitudes. Any ideas?

  2. As a parent in the school, Im planning to attend & i strongly encourage all members of OBY parent body to attend as well. I hope Jackson twsp will realize that a nice, brand-new, well-maintained bldg on Cross will look alot better than 7.5 acres of dilapidated, vacant, litter-strewn land. Thank you !!

  3. And what’s exactly the point of pointing out that Oros is a High School !?
    You know what u get when u wanna say s/t but u don’t have a/t 2 say !? …………..
    Blah blah blah !!

  4. While I really hope it works out for the school and the anti semetic comments are over the top and disgusting, maybe we need to look in the mirror at ourselves and see how many yeshivas have crazy t’zoros from unzerah when they try opening in their neiborhoods. Even though cross street is not really residential, when we show we would never allow it near us, it gets picked up on and others won’t ultimately want it near them

  5. Not sure what can be done about the attitudes. The paranoia is not from my end. I took my son to the park and a child started to play with him. I took my son to the swings and the father shouted, “What’s wrong if he wants to play with your kid?!” “Nothing, sir,” I replied, “we’re just going to the swings.”

  6. my opinion is, if there is so much resistance, why build there. why not build where you don’t need a variance and you’ll have a much smoother process.

  7. Can someone please explain to me why people call Jews “hasids”? What about a clean shaven Askinazic frum Jew, sporting a black sheen of fabric on his head and dark slacks screams “hasid”?

    I get that there are non chasidic types that look similar to “hasids” so if your not in it you can mix it, but can’t an outsider tell if someone is clearly a non “hasid”? Or is it only the “hasid” types that freak them out?

  8. I have just checked out the Jackson township zoning watchdog page on facebook and I must say I was shocked.
    There is so much hate out there. They are careful not to spout any antisemitism openly because it will hurt their cause in court, in preventing schools from being built. However there is an obvious undercurrent of hate….
    After reading all this I realized how important it is for us to CHANGE our behavior! We must show them what orthodoxy is really about. We are supposed to be an example of exemplary behavior yet we come across as rude! We must slow down and be more respectful to others in stores, on the road, and most importantly we must lead by example and teach our CHILDREN better behavior and respect for non-jews. Those who want to hate will still hate but at least they should not have any real basis

  9. I agree with shocked. Let’s behave the way we should, and the way many, but not enough of us do!

    I also think that if it will cause such hatred and animosity perhaps it’s not the best idea to build a school there. Why move to a place where you are so completely not wanted, so thoroughly resented? I probably shouldn’t say this because I have no idea how difficult a search process the school has endured and perhaps they don’t have any other viable options, so I guess take my words with a grain of salt…

  10. Its so sad. There are almost NO houses on Cross street. Theres also hardly any traffic there. What does the average Jacksonite care if theres a school there ? It bothers no one & effects no one. The opposition is 95% based on hate. Sad, indeed.

  11. As a Jackson resident I can state my concerns. These concerns are not anti-Semitic in any way. The school is seeking tax exempt status for a property that can potentially produce over $40,000 in annual tax revenue. Current residents of the town will eventually have to make up for this shortfall. There are serious traffic concerns that were not addressed and even ignored by the applicant and the lawyer. local neighbors will be forced to endure increased traffic, noise, and light pollution which will negatively impact property values. Our houses are our greatest investment and we are not interested in losing value on these investments.

    Lakewood schools are $4 in debt. This is due to the unique busing situation and the abnormal amounts of tax exempt properties in town. For the second time in ten years the district is looking to the state and county for a bailout. How does expanding this situation help anyone???

    I see a lot of charges of hate above, but no specific examples from the watchdog site. Yes I am concerned that Jackson will become the next Ramapo, NY (broke school system) and Lakewood (broke schools system).

  12. there is only traffic on cross now because of the construction – crazy traffic. but when there is no construction cross is great. my kids school is on cross

  13. The Proposed school is for LAKEWOOD Girls – Why not build in Lakewood?
    and By The way, The Jackson Watchdog page is NOT anti semi-semitic!!!

  14. Wow! A whole bunch of discussion on points that have nothing to do with the issue at hand : ZONING! The property isn’t zoned to accommodate a school…PERIOD! It is zoned RESIDENTIAL for a reason. The rest of this nonsense like claims of antisemitism have NOTHING do with the application.

  15. Why why why why, after the history of the last 2000 years, do you still need to still ask why Gentiles hate Jews???
    Where there any reasons for all the blood libels, the pogroms? Do Jew haters NEED reasons?
    Maybe all the Jew haters should take a little history lesson and read up on WHO BANKROLLED THE US REVOLUTION IN 1776. Out of his own pocket. Had it not been for Chaim Salomon there may not have been a United States of America.

  16. there are three issues with the applicant–traffic, the school will be on a septic and well–which I live in the area and I am concerned about this and it is not Zoned for a school.. Cross Street now has five operating schools on it and a girl elementary school that will be open next year.
    the applicant stated the school will be open from Sept-june–why then is there a swimming pool and basketball courts for Phase 2, I do not think the applicant is being completely truthful about the project —

  17. I bet if Jackson decided they wanted try and build in school in Lakewood, the entire Lakewood be up in arms as well. Take a second and actually put the shoe on the other foot, and you may actually understand some of where they are coming from.

  18. Holly, if the only issue Jackson residents have is zoning, that would be fine, and that’s legit. But like lilly13, there has been a lot of discussion about how “they” bankrupt the school, have lots of tax-exempt properties, property values, ramapo, and who know what else.
    How many people in Jackson can really say that the school would would affect their property value? Maybe those on the block could claim that a school is worse than a litter-filled lot with transients. Perhaps.
    About the busing and tax issues. A community that doesn’t drive on the Sabath has lots of places of worship. There a lots of kids that need a lot of schools, right now we don’t have enough room. Look at our phone directory for the number of charitable organizations. However, the large amount of new housing that has gone up in recent years with high taxes more than makes up for that. Though you all complain about the housing too, (and the driving, and walking in the street, ad nauseum..)Why blame the people who get state mandated busing and pay most of the taxes and private tuition instead of the people who send their kids to public schools and cost the district 15X more, many of whom are here illegally? Your “facts” clearly show your bias.
    I live in Lakewood, but I work in a state-run school outside of Lakewood, so I talk to people. I know the real story. I happen to teach mostly minority, disadvantaged students, and I give them my all, including spending my own money on them. In my classroom no one is judged by anything other than the content of their character.

    Some of the lovely watchdogs are the same people as on the news sites with all the “stay in Lakewood where you belong” comments. Respect our intelligence and say it like it is.

  19. I’m sure that many of those opposing the school are doing so for anti semitic reasons. But I am also sure that many people just don’t want a school in a residential area and have no other sinister reasons. I can understand not wanting to commercialize a residential area. If an area is quiet who says you have to build schools there to make it busy?

  20. Its zoned residential then why not build apartments. And why can’t they find a piece of their own land in Lakewood to build it so Lakewood residents can pay taxes for the school not Jackson residents which Jackson kids won’t be goin to the school so why should we use our land and tax money for our children not even be going there. At least build something for Jackson residents if anything or leave it alone who is it really bothering?

  21. lilly13: I understand your concerns and some of them are very valid such as the traffic problems and additional noise to neighbors.
    As far as pollution is concerned, are you kidding me? I have no further comment on that front.
    You asked for examples of hate, ok so I will explain. There were comments on the watchdog site about how the orthodox should not have children “just because they can”; many agreed. I found that highly insulting considering that we have many children because we believe it is the will of G-d.
    Additionally, some members were accusing orthodox lakewood residents of creating an 8 page flyer full of antisemitsm in the name of Jackson residents just in order to support the orthodox cause in court and make Jackson residents appear to be antisemitic. This is absurd!! knowing my community I know that it is IMPOSSIBLE that any Orthodox Jew would go to such an extreme and to make others in our community look bad just for the sake of a school building. Its just not that important to have the school if that is what it would take. That flyer was created by those who truly hate.
    Also you are very uninformed if you think that most people in Lakewood aren’t paying real Estate tax… Most of us pay exorbitantly, as we have large homes to accomodate our large families. (Personally I pay $10,000 a year) and the reality is taht we do not use any of this money as it all goes to the Public schools with the exception of a tiny percentage which goes to bussing. (I imagine you wouldn’t rather we all decided to send our children to Public school). I would hope you can forgive us for having bussing in exchange for the billions of dollars pouring in from our properties. (And the numbers of properties are on the rise, only bringing in more and more money).
    If the school system is going broke, than it is due to the wastefulness that all government run departments are known for and poor economic times.

  22. “lilly13” – potential 40k in tax revenue? The property has been empty for years generating zero and has homeless people and garbage strewn all over(not to compare the two g-d forbid) have u ever seen the site? Some of your other comments may be valid concerns( i do not know) but the tax issue isn’t , there is a reason there has been no revenue from this 7acre plus site

  23. I dont disagree with the Jacksoners abt then paying for our bussing (If thats the way it works) but I dislike how they are making it personal. I really don’t know why it would be their business who is/isnt paying tax in lakewood, as it doesn’t effect them at all! That is an example of hate

  24. In many places all Orthodox Jews are referred to as Chassidic, Hasids, ets. THey do not know the differences between Chassidish and non Chassidish Orthodox Jews. So sometimes even we Litvaks are called Hasids. That’s all. No big deal.

  25. Some sects of Orthodox Judaism claim the Jews, as the people of God, should live completely segregated from gentiles whereas other Orthodox sects believe Jews can keep the Torah and live in the secular world simultaneously.

  26. Schools in Lakewood, a town of 92,000, have received more dollars per student than those in any other significant city in New Jersey. In 2011, schools in Lakewood received $282 in E-Rate commitments for every student served by the program. Schools in Newark, the largest city in New Jersey and one of the poorest, received just $82 per student that year.
    Less than one-tenth of the E-Rate money has gone to Lakewood’s public school system, which has one of the worst high school graduation rates in New Jersey. The rest is granted to the town’s private schools, the vast majority of which serve the ultra-Orthodox community.

    From….The Jewish Daily Forward

  27. The comments here stating that the opposition is 95% hate and Jackson is against the school because of anti-semetisim are just as bad and irresponsible as any of these supposed anti-semetic comments that I am yet to see with my own eyes. TRUE, there are people outside the community that hate Jews. And people that hate blacks and whites and Catholics, etc. You get the point. However anyone that thinks this is a stand against the Jewish religion is 100% wrong. This is Jackson not wanting their town to turn into Lakewood. It dcoesnt matter who is responsible for what Lakewood has become, it is not a desired outcome for any rational human being. Jackson doesn’t want the baggage, the religion of the community or communities that created it is irrelevant. Don’t take it personal.

  28. Who Cares, e-Rate money is given to the school that applies for it. It is not given to Lakewood and distributed to the schools. In effect this is criticizing Lakewood schools for applying for money they are eligible for, due to the number of low to middle income students in private schools. It is simply trying to skew the facts to look like some evil is happening.

  29. In response to jackson residents complaining about a school in a residential neighborhood. Why was jackson liberty high school built in its present location bordering the westgate development and numerous private houses in jackson. The whole area hears the noise whenever there is a football game going on.

  30. to #34

    If this is not anti-semetisim then what is it? I quote you ” This is Jackson not wanting their town to turn into Lakewood”. What is the problem with lakewood? I am sorry if you wanted it to stay a rurel town with farms and old people…but life goes on. Oh and btw I never hear anyone complaining about the spanish in Lakewood which most of them are here illegally and cause a lot of drug problems here..What if they wanted to build a school? I wonder what you would all be saying….

  31. Im here now. Theres about 1,000 ppl here & its not pleasant. Every time a zoning guy says anything anti-applicant everyone cheers. Its v/ tense. I said hi to s/one on the way in- he ignored me.

  32. Lilly, your comment is a perfect example of someone who is not informed of the basic facts but just repeats the foolish things they hear without checking them for factual accuracy. The overwhelming majority of Lakewood residents pay exorbitant taxes without any deduction. This goes in large part to fund the public school system, which is not attended by the Orthodox Jewish population. The only benefit they do receive is bussing, which obviously is not the reason the BOE is in financial distress. The reason for that are many including board mismanagement among other reasons, so yes your comment alone is an example of bigotry

  33. This is appropriate to this weeks reading portion about Esav Soneh L’Yackov and it will be that way until the Messiah so why don’t the Jews do what they gotta do and let the “Eisav” comments bounce off them !
    Paul Revere on 2013-11-20 at 3:10 pm said it the best !

  34. I just came back from observing that meeting in the Jackson Memorial High School. I went there with no predetermined opinion, and I’ve heard no rational arguments made against allowing the school.

    That “Jackson Citizens Defense Fund” lawyer (or whatever he was) questioning the expert witnesses on behalf of blocking the project was a total buffoon. Better criticism of the project was brought up by Jackson residents during “open mic” at the end of the meeting, but still nothing significant. At very most there might need to be some greater sewage allowances – not a reason to block the construction of a much-needed school. I’ve heard a lot of exaggerations and rumors. Facts and expert studies were dismissed in favor of anecdotal guesstimates by laymen. Etc. A lot of people want to turn back the clock against population growth, which isn’t an option. A lot of people are jealous or culturally intolerant…

    Government interventionism into the marketplace is the underlying cause of most of those problems. Instead of learning to be tolerant of their neighbors, everyone is trying to use government force to get their way. Majority violates the rights of a minority. Everyone is worried they’re paying too much taxes and not getting enough in return. In a more free and rational society, government would not be able to forbid the construction of a school, but the school would have to pay for their own transportation, added sewage costs, etc. Having school vouchers, parental choice, and no government intervention would solve a lot of problems…

    I hope the residents of Jackson will learn to be more tolerant of the growing Orthodox community, and I hope everyone will learn to be more tolerant of the homeless people living in tent cities on so-called “public land”…

  35. re #41 – there were a lot of angry “open mic” commentators, with only 1-2 speaking out for non-interventionism and tolerance. The meeting concluded at 11:15pm (IIRC). No vote took place. They’ll discuss it at a subsequent meeting,

  36. Pollution is a legit concern on the objectors part. I would ask those from Lakewood to understand Jackson is extremely rural in some parts. People live here because they enjoy that setting. They are fighting to preserve the setting. Noise and light pollution are a serious concern. The concern is not only specific to this application but to the precedent it will set, this opening the door to more and more noise and light pollution. If you don’t value such a setting it is understandable as to how you can’t understand the concern. I must point out that, just because you can’t understand the reasoning behind the concern, you should not suggest it be ignored.

  37. i stand corrrected #13 you said there are almost no houses on Cross Street–but you must not dirve on Cross Street because the traffic is terrible at times. The property is not zoned for a school and it will effect everfyone is the area if the septic system at the school fails it will effect the wells of residences on White Rd, Galassi Ct and Cross Street

  38. To # 34

    It is the attitude of people like yourself that make us so unwanted. Basically you are saying “I’m sorry if you don’t like the changes but too bad”.With that attitude of course no one will want you moving in.

    And yes I can think of plenty of people who made efforts to curtail the illegal immigrant Lakewood population

  39. This is hysterical. The Jewish community wants jackson to roll over and give them this school with no rules and guidelines. Jackson wants to adhere to the laws and doing this jackson is full of anti-Semites. Who has the attitude? There is no right of passage because of your faith. Rules aren’t made to be broken. Look in the mirror and have a gentlile do the same in your community. A person of Jewish faith may feel as or understand how jackson might feel. If this is so important to your community then build it there and let lakewood zoning turn a blind eye. Let your taxes escalate.

  40. To #48
    Curtail illegals in lakewood? How? Many houses in my area employ them for house cleaning, yard work, tree trimming, construction, I could go on and on

  41. Deb says: I agree with Rabbi Steve Gold of Beth Shalom. ” If one Jewish person is attacked, we are all attacked!

    We should try to educate the people in Jackson who don’t have a clue
    as what the Orthodox community represents.

    The school issue is now symbolic of what we have tolerated for many thousands of years.

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