UPDATED: After 8 Month Battle, GCU Denied Expansion

Planning Board Meeting gcu picFIRST REPORT 11:10 p.m. After 5 hours of debating, GCU was denied their expansion. A motion was first made to approve the plan with the exception of the two entrances, but that did not pass. Another motion was then made to pass the entire project, but that ended in a stale mate, which legally creates a denial.

The meeting ended moments ago.

[Original post at 7:04 p.m.] The Planning Board meeting has gotten underway a short time ago where the board is soon expected to vote on the controversial expansion of the Georgian Court University. The vote this evening comes after an 8-month long battle and debate over the proposed 150 acre project for the university, which attorneys for the 14th Street area residents say would negatively affect the area residents.

Check back soon for any further updates.

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  1. I am trying to figure out all the fuss. First, I hear about traffic but all the students and faculty park on their properties except for may be Lakewood Ave or Sixth or Seventh St areas. All the parking and traffic in the same area comes from BMG who does not have enough on site parking for their buildings so those students park thoughout the neighborhood from 2nd St to 9th St. Secondly, neither GCU nor BMG pay taxes on their sites. Thirdly, as to do they bring people last time I checked both bring people into Lakewood who eat and shop in town.

  2. this is a no brainer, they want to expand on property that they already own , as for those who complain that live near by GC was there long before you moved there . I can show you dozens of other places in this town that are far more of an issue than this

  3. Let me get this straight. Since some areas in town are overdeveloped therefore we should allow GCU to ruin a quiet, peaceful, serene neighborhood? The neighbors have a legitimate request to maintain the tranquility and safety of the area.
    In addition, GCU is hoping to get a carte blanche pass to do any future development without having to get Township approval. The neighbors would have to be crazy to let that pass unhindered.

  4. They were foolish for not accepting the offer of approval,with the exception of the enterance on 14th st.now they have to fight it in court,which will be much harder once it was denied .GCU could have had almost everything,now they have nothing. What’s the logic ??

  5. As a former longtime neighbor of both GCU and BMG, one whose once tranquil neighborhood was utterly destroyed by the ensuing lack of parking facilities, I should feel sympathy for the complaining residents. I should, but I don’t. For if GCU was a yeshiva, there would be no complaints. Lakewood is no longer the diverse, tolerant community that I grew up in.

  6. This entire GDP was a scam. All they wanted was new entrances and their scam was exposed. I give the 14th Street crowd tremendous credit for opposing the GDP in a very respectful, civil manner. They didn’t lambaster the college and wisely avoided Chilul Hshem. Their presentation was spectacular and they deserved to be recognized.

  7. Is this the same planning board who gave the green light over and over on developments that overcrowd, cause traffic chaos, take down forests, and have no regard for the existing neighborhoods? But in those same developers backyard some how it now there are safety and quality of life issues?

    Is this the same planning board that supports Smartgrowth??

    Something isn’t adding up here?

  8. I feel bad for GCU but if u want to have a massive campus in middle of a growing town (even if u were here first) you r going to have major issues expanding. The yeshiva is facing very difficult issues presently and the parking lot situation will not be able to continue for much longer. Be well and may we all live in peace and harmony in this exploding town

  9. I knew it look who is on the board, I say no more school to open in lakewood , no way no how, it is their land, if it was other way around they would just do it and that would be that, shame shame

  10. #8 you are in fantasy land, to the rest – avoided Chilul Hashem? were you there? did you hear the inane comments and complaints? there were a few – a very few – reasonable commenters who had issues and concerns but the bottom line is this is headed for the inevitable approval by a judge. So what did we gain by our obstinacy? If the judge grants it, you may not get the setbacks you hoped for and will endure much soccer and music, even from unwed moms. why should our children be exposed indeed.

  11. First of all, as much as all or most of us hate the traffic congestion and overcrowding through BMG’s developement, they are directly responsible for creating hundreds of jobs in this town, plus hundreds of millions of paid re taxes (of course not from their own pockets.. lol!). On the other hand, GCU does not contribute an iota of $$$ to anything in this city, aside for a coffee at Exxon or WAWA once in a while.

    Secondly, I was there tonight and GCU kept insisting that they need to have those 2 new entrances (since the two on 9th and one on 7th arent enough) and they couldnt proceed without them…. Do you know why? If it was only as an expansion of the school facilities it certainly wouldnt matter. However, the reason they are so adamant about having those new entrances done immediately is because they plan on building a huge indoor sports/entertainment complex (around 200k sf). Therefore, imagine if a venue begins at a set time and 10,000 people are attending…. Then certainly they will need every available opening to get them there on time.

    (Moderated) The intentions of GCU are primarily for an additional revenue source…

    By the way, all of this will come out in court, where this is probably headed next…

  12. Thank you, planning board for denying this motion. This is not comparable to a school or shul. There, at least some neighbors use the shul/school, here, noone has benefit. Also, as mentioned, GCU gives zilcho, directly or otherwise, to the twsp coffers. Lastly, whereas a shul/school might bother one block, this will bother 30 blocks. Starting from Case & N Lk Dr, all the way until the light @ 14th & Forest. Sorry no go. They lost tonight & iy”h, they’ll lose in court.

  13. Its their property…let them use it…its not like the township or any developers will be able to take control of it. It is protected land..can not be used for anything but the schools uses.

    I think if one of the other schools in this town asked for permission to expand on their own land it will be denied as well..what is not good for one is not good for all..How many other private schools in this town contribute to the town??

  14. Response to #24

    What are you saying?? Every school, or shul (or even BMG) that I know of uses construction companies from OUR residents. Electricians and plumbers from OUR residents. The teachers and faculty are from US. Many of the busses and drivers are OUR residents. The food is from OUR establishments. Shall I go on, or you catch my drift…???

    Of course they can do what they want on their property. But it is no way a “double standard and we certainly have the right to object and fight it.

  15. Thank you Rich Roberts and your wife for your continued support! You are a classic example of an individual who uses your resources to benefit the tzibur.

    Thank you as well to Chaim Kupperwaser, Shloimy Katz, Itche Rosenbaum and many others who gave of themselves and hired attorneys to get us to this point so far…

  16. I feel like sitting Shiva for GCU. However, I understand near by neighbors. A word to the wise: ever since GCU opened their doors they never bothered anyone. You barely see them.

    Actually I find it ironic how this joint is always expanding yet zero people attend. Oh, maybe one. For real, when I drive on North Lake Drive and look through the gate (trying hard not to take my eyes off the road – probably the windiest road in America – a different topic for a different time ) I see maybe ten cars parked in front of this totally massive joint. And Im sure they all belong to the faculty members. Its like, dude! Why are you expanding. ZERO DUDES attend your college! BMG takes up every single spot in and around their joint with in a one mile radius. They line the streets around GCU, but no one actually enters GCU! I think it is a mad shver sugya.

  17. Fight it in court for thousands of dollars and LOSE. They will get it(and they should) in court after the town will now have to spend money(which they don’t have) to fight it. STUPID!!!!

  18. How many private schools contribute?
    Every Child in private school is one less child funded by OUR taxes in public school… think about it- its in everyone’s interest to have many private k-12 schools

  19. EThey are within their legal rights to develop their own property. Remember this when BMG wants to expand. The only reason the planning board denied the approval is because they were told to. Keep dividing the town even more. I guess the new students will all have to use Lakewood Ave Case Rd etc for their parking just like everyone else does and when you can’t find a parking space you will think twice

  20. i was by the meeting last night non of the neighbors objected their right to build it was the impact of placiement of those entrances in those spots and their refusal to consider other spots to the point it seems like pay back,
    also didnt apreciate how 1 elderly board member trivilized 100s of peoples concerns as if it was just a case of not in my back yard(nimby)

  21. To: crock ery

    UNWED MOMS? UNWED MOMS??? Are you ignorant? They are college students! I have heard some biggoted stuff on here against this expansion, but this has got to be the lowest and most ignorant response I have seen yet!

  22. #24 you are right it’s not a schjool, it’s a University, a plce for higher learning which means they should have been granted what they are asking for. Is it because the school is for women that you feel this should be denied? Is it because they are not of the Jewish faith?
    #13…. Thank you!

  23. The reason it is not being approved is because if the people in the town have their way they will take over the campus and turn it into condos or town houses. The college has been there for over 100 years. It deserves to remain and expand.

  24. To comment 22 if your facts are correct Im really pleased that permission was not granted tto open up Case Rd etec.
    Have you ever driven past Blue Claws stadium before or after a game or whatever function its a nightmare.

  25. to Skeet:
    look up “sarcasm” in the dictionary, then reread my comment. also, you were apparently not there or you would get the reference.

  26. Welcome to Lakewood.I only hope that when the PBA bring the Forensic to check the books a lot of stuff comes out and the ppl realize the kind of ppl that is running Lakewood.

  27. call it s you see it. Expansion in Lakewood has been underway for over 10 years. Schools, new developments have been built in other serene areas’s and no one cared. Tree’s were chopped down-no one cared-traffic is a nighmare and still no one cares. Why now, I ask you.
    Lets be honest, we all know the real reason

  28. 41
    Of course it’s a religious issue, or rather a cultural issue.
    Do you think for one second that if it were BMG, people would be hiring lawyers to fight it?
    Even if all the students would be coming every day from Brooklyn and not spending a dime in town??

  29. there is no way anyone reading this story would agree to 10,000 sports fans entering the neighborhood for an event. look at any stadium, college or professional. it is a mad house and this type of activity should not be forced onto a quiet residential street.

    this is not a religious issue. and not about overcrowding the town of Lakewood.

    Simply, its about 10,000 visitors attending a event, sports or otherwise.

  30. OK I guess censoship is alive and well here on this site , you cannot leave comments that disagree with the oppinions of those who writ these articles, Why do you keep removing my comments when in fact they are not demeaning in any way ,shape or form ,just my oppinions
    This will end up in court and was stupid for it to get voted down ,now its going to cost this town a lot of money going to court

  31. to the editor
    if thats the case there was no reason to remove what i wrote!!!again just my oppinion nothing foul,slanderous or off color just my view of how things work in this town which some may not like to hear however

  32. I believe i have the answer to all the problems. Have GC on the 9th street side make a large parking area for BMG on their land. If that happens helps that whole area.
    Please dont thank me.

  33. Common Sense

    Whoa, talk about exaggeration.
    10,000 sports fans?
    Wild parties?
    Have you ever once encountered misbehavior from the thousands of students that currently attend GCU?

  34. Megan 123 said that the twsp will have to fight it. Is that the law ? If GCU goes to court, it’ll be vs the twsp ? Not vs the neighbors ? Hmmm. Interesting. U might be right. Either way, I don’t think GCU can win. They can build all they want but they can’t put enterances into a quiet residantial area. Thanx again.

  35. To nachi says:
    because there is no “legal’ reason for dennying this ,in my oppinion only because some neighbors that don’t want it which in of itself is not a valid reason ,if that was the case everytime someone objects to anything it should be dennied on that bassis NOT !

  36. Firstly, I live in the Case Road area and was at the meeting last night. So for all you critics that are sitting here and pointing fingers, why don’t you try actually attending the meetings so you can hear both sides of the story before you give you opinions.

    Secondly, no one has a problem with the growth and development issue for GCU. The primary concern is for the safety of the residents in the surrounding area that will be severely impacted if gates open into our streets. How, you ask? Here’s how. 1. Our streets have virtually no siderwalks, so our kids literally have to walk along the streets to get anywhere. 2. Our street are very poorly lit and especially in the winter months our kids get off the school buses when it’s already dark and need to walk along these streets to get home. 3. The GCU is to expand the university and expect to add well over 3,000 students and staff. Imagine how many more cars we are talking about?! 4. Our streets are very narrow and already pose difficulty maneuvering through them throught the various seasons. 5. These are college kids that will be racing to and from class through our streets.

    And for all those who complain about BMG, here’s what I have to say to you. First of all, I resent the implication that because I’m Jewish and BMG is a Jewish Institution that we are one and the same. I have no affiliations to the Institution. Why didn’t they face the same opposition? Maybe it’s because the neighboring 99% of the residents are all students or alumni of the school. However, not isn’t the neighborhood surrounding GCU students or alumni, but I have yet to meet even ONE PERSON that lives in the immediate area of the school!

    It’s very easy to propose plans and expect approval when it impacts someone else’s safety, isn’t it?

  37. 99 percent of the speakers said that they have no problems with GCU expanding or building anything they want . Even the GCU traffic expert admitted under oath that they dont really need the new entrances today and he doesnt really know if and when they ever will . He also admitted under oath that he did not take into consideration the negative impact of diverting the traffic into the 14th and Case neighborhoods without sidewalks . He also admitted that he understands that the new traffic patterns could severely impact the neighborhoods but that his cluent .GCU ,did not hire him to analyze that .There were 2 other traffic engineers there who did analyze the pros and cons and stated under oath that from a traffic and safety issue it makes no sense to divert the traffic and that based on their analasys ,there is no need to add the new entrances and that the college can build everything they want without the new entrances . It is really silly for anybody to comment if they were not at all trhe meetings and did not listen to all the testimony .

  38. truth4ruth –
    “It’s very easy to propose plans and expect approval when it impacts someone else’s safety, isn’t it?”

    That’s the pot calling the kettle black!!! LOL

  39. Truth- Thank you for explaining your point of view and the actual reassoning behind not wanting the expansion- namely the traffic. I have to say it makes sense the way you explained it. If only the town and GCU (and the neighbors) can come to some kind of compromise? Maybe GCU can pay for upgrades/improvements in regards to sidewalks, lighting, etc? Or amend their plans for entrances to another area that would be less dangerous.

    I’m glad someone explained the issues rather than just engaging in the “if it was BMG” back and forth argument.

  40. I heard they wanted to make a sports stadium on campus. That would mean games, bringing traffic, perhaps noise. Why can’t they just use the blue claws stadium for their games?

  41. #60. Excuse me??? Explain your accusation of how I am guilty of the very thing I am complaining about.

    Or was that a discriminatory comment against Jews?

  42. GCU’s development plan is just that, a plan. The university does have the right to build upon their own property. From what I understand, the additional entrances/exits may or may not be needed. As a women’s university, I’m sure they would be thrilled to get thousands of sports spectators, but a few hundred is more the case for womens sports. It’s a shame that so many dollars will now be wasted by Lakewood to fight this in court when, just like recently, the judge will need to rule that there is no case and GCU was able to build their wellness center and a new entrance at Ninth Street and Private Way. While I sympathize with those who live around GCU, I think that they are working hard to plan for an increase in students with parking on their property. I wish GCU well.

  43. To #66: According to testimony that I heard last night by GCU experts, there are 4 criteria that must be met for the proposal to be passed. The first 2 are technical about the structure and layout. #3 is traffic flow #4 is that there should be no adverse affect on the surrounding residents.

    This is the law, and while it’s easy for you to say that parking will be on their lot and the cars will not take up parking spaces on our streets, the cars still need to get in out on, unless you know something that I don’t know.

    There are immenent risk factors involved with the proposal that will threaten our safety and those issues have yet to be addressed by GCU or their representatives.

  44. I am so disgusted with this town, I cannot even write what I’m thinking because it would not be published. But if this was a Jewish school there would be no question that they would get what they want AND no complaints from anyone. Not even the non Jews would complain, we believe in live and let live.

  45. The heading says”denied expansion” that isn’t true. They were denied their growth development plan “GDP” which would allow them to have a blanket approval for the next 20 years. The denial of this just means that when they actually want to build they need to come to the planning board live every other citizen. I’m sure at that time the planning board will approve any building that they need to expand. This attempt at a getting a gdp approved was an attempt to get a blanket approval for “vague plans” without getting too specific about them because “there will be another step to the process” when they have all the actual plans and needs. So why not just come to the board when there is a specific building needed. Based on the boards attempt to compromise last nigh we have every reason to believe they are willing to approve the “expansion” there are some minor details that they wanted to change and the college wouldn’t bend. So don’t say they were denied expansion. They were NOT denied expansion. They weren’t even denied the entrances they were denied a gdp that would give them a blanket approval to do what they want when they want.

  46. The whole issue was the entrances,Everyone agreed they can expand the buildings and stadiums.Why are they being so presistant for the entances.There has to be more to it……..Maybe for renting out ETC.

  47. #68 Your statement goes that “there should be no adverse affects on surrounding residents” How is it that Shuls and schools are built anywhere and everywhere without regard for the “adverse effects (note that it is effect not affect) on surrounding residents? Sometimes we can’t even park on our own street, not even near our home, because the Shul does not have adequate parking. This is an adverse effect on my quality of life. Why was this and other Shuls and schools allowed to be built without regard for any adverse effects in my case? Am I less worthy then the people in the surrounding area of GUU?

    Someone said that GUU adds nothing to the community. Then maybe your girls should not be attending GUU. Why are frum women attending GUU? Do you not know that GUU has many programs that benefit the community and the country? It’s all about you and your needs and the heck with the rest of the world. Maybe we should start going to planning board meetings and township meetings and to the press and get our voices heard, small voices, but still small voices can make a lot of noise.

  48. truth4ruth –
    Simply put there is no concern about what impact it has on my neighborhood when I can’t even park my car in front of my house because of lack of parking for your schools and so forth. Most of the time the mailman skips my home because of cars parked in front of my mailbox that aren’t even mine. NO CONSIDERATION!!!!

    “Or was that a discriminatory comment against Jews?” – Please stop pulling this card out everytime someone goes against you! That is a joke!

  49. As far as I know, any and all GDP-(growth & development plans) must come before the board for approval first. So if you want your voice to be heard, simply show up to the meetings that are required to be advertised by Lakewood Township and speak up! Nobody is depriving you of a voice except yourself.

    I am also having a hard time to understand how a Shul of even 300 people (extremely large shul) can compare to Geogian Court’s proposal that is TEN TIMES that amount? And just to show you, if a shul is adversely effecting your quality of life now-multiply that by TEN.

    Third of all, if we were only talking here about the inconvenience of traffic and parking, I’d be jumping for joy. This is about a clear and present danger to our safety and that of our kids.

    Also, I would be very interested to learn more about “the many programs that benefit the community”, as you say. Please tell me what they are so I can benefit from them as well.

    And finally, the very fact that there are frum girls in GCU is clear evidence that there is no conspiracy, as many posters here seem to believe. (and I find your phrase of ‘your girls….’ to be very discriminatory.) I personally graduated from college and support GCU in that regard. But it’s my humble opinion that safety should come first on the agenda. Apparently, you think otherwise.

  50. “This is about a clear and present danger to our safety and that of our kids.”

    You just proved my point! No consideration for anyone else. Do you think that it’s safe for my kids to have to play dodge the cars that come through my neighborhood?????

  51. Anon: I’m sorry to hear that there are inconsiderate people that block your mailbox……I also live across the street from a synagogue and experience the same exact problem which annoys the heck out of me too. And I’m sorry to hear that your kids have to dodge the cars that come through your neighborhood.

    However, are any of these a reason to support a proposal that will only add to that problem? If you are against increasing traffic and concerned for safety, you should also be against this proposal.

  52. I am Jewish and I feel horrible today. GCU has every right to put entrances on their property regardless of traffic or what they plan on doing on their property. It’s the law.
    To say this is a travesty is an understatement.

  53. This topic is freaking me out. I mean the worst is being exposed in people! All this negativity and bashing is uncalled for. We need to Chill. Grab a bud or two before you shoot off about entrances. I’m in the mood for a pogo stick.

  54. To
    Yossi says:
    December 22, 2010 at 9:42 am
    We don’t need this in Lakewood.

    Don’t need what
    its already here and long before many who are posting comments here and complaing you should have not moved into a neighborhood that borders the university if you were that concerned about the noise or trafic

  55. What noise and what traffic? GCU is a quite place. They never harmed anyone ever. Give em credit where it is due.

    By a show of hands, how many people ever said, omg! so many GCU people driving through Lakewood! Never happened. They even park on campus!

    Its all a myth. Unless they are planning on building this totally huge building which is the reason why they would need a billion enterences in which case perhaps there is some kind of argument. Other wise, who cares? Honestly, very few humans attend the huge campus and those that do park inside.

    If anyone can explain for real the reason for all of this I would appreciate it. What is the real reason for the freakadge?

  56. Whats good for one in this town, is not good for another. Shame on those that opposed this and denied the owners the right to do with thier property what they wanted. This is a quiet school something Lakewood could use. Quiet

  57. I agree with #79. They should remove some of these planning board members. I am jewish (BMG student) and I appreciate, among other things, that they have been very quiet neighbors, classes that cater to our community and supportive of many of our projects over the years.
    Their students drive respectfully for the most part and we have never had a single instance in all the years where we could say that they have negatively affected us.
    Yes, they do have many students. It only seems like they don’t because over the years they have maintained their quiet presence.
    They own buildings outside of their campus but have never used them for loud functions.
    When you buy a home near an institution or a business zone, even if there are trees at the time of purchase, you have to realize that one fine day it might get developed.
    I feel bad for the neighbors but I hope for two things: That GCU should win in court and that the faculty and students of GCU find it in their hearts to forgive us for the mistakes of a few of us.

  58. #86 finally someone talking sense! Its like there is a reflex in this town. Whenever someone does something that goes against unzira, its like bam! crush all opponents and heretics.

    The proper response is to take a really long drag on the nearest pipe and think a little. How are they really effecting our lives? Did they ever bother you once in your long history of living here for a number of years before you migrated from Brooklyn?

    For real, let them be.

  59. #74 you want to know what GCU does to benefit the community so you can benefit from it? Are you so needy and greedy that all you can think of is what you can get out of what they have to offer? Are you with out food, clothes or a home? Get down and dirty with the students at GCU and go down to the railroad tracks and feed the homeless and hungry with them. No, better still, educate yourself, do yourself a favor and call GCU and ASK them what they do for the community. You may be able to find something they do that might benefit YOU. Or you might even find that there might be some way you might help someone less fortunate then you. THere are other people in the world #74. The world does not revolve around you and what can benefit you. I feel sorry for this world and your family (if you have one) if you are so self-absorbed and selfish that you can only wonder what you can get, always get for yourself. Call GCU and find out what they do and then you can report to this post, perhaps thanking G-d for what you have.

  60. it seems like “its always all about ME “from some of these comments GCU is one of the few things in Lakewood that we should be proud to have within Lakewood borders. I don’t understand some of the negative things being spewed out here perhaps those who moved in close to this university should hasve checked out the neighborhood before moving there .

  61. What Georgian Court does for the community is graduate students who become teachers, principals, accountants, ethical business leaders, scientists, mathematicians, artists, poets, criminal justice experts….. The university provides graduate education that becomes the foundation for thousands of students to advance in their jobs. They practice the Mercy core values of respect, justice, compassion, integrity, and service. Every graduate of GCU must complete a service component in order to graduate. That amounts to thousands of hours of volunteer time to Lakewood, Ocean County and the region represented by more than 150 non- profits and other organizations. Faculty members do research on topics from preserving the Jersey Shore from invasive species to nuerological disorders, and serve as experts locally, regionally, and statewide, many volunteering their time on local boards and commissions. The School of Nursing partners with Meridian Health and in two years will graduate its first class of students who will likely be employed in Ocean County hospitals, meeting a projected nursing shortage.The university opens its doors to the community for lecture series, nationally known guest speakers, dance and music performances, tours of the arboretum and historic campus buildings listed on the National Registry, Girl Scout camps, leadership camps for middle and high school students, a special program for Lakewood female students in the summer to help them learn science and technology. The university held an Autism Institute for local K-12 teachers to help them educate the many children in Ocean County with autism spectrum disorders. These are just a few examples. Pages and pages can be written on the contributions of GCU and its graduates who put their intellectual capital to work solving problems, joining the work force, and generally making a differance in their towns, county, and state.

    The projected increase of students over 20 years of a carefully planned expansion of the campus is 1,680 students over the current 2,320 on the Lakewood campus now. About 700 of these students will be living on campus, many without a car, in a traditional college experience. Many will be adult graduate students who attend in the evening and on weekends in accelerated courses. Others are adults returning to complete their undergraduate college degrees at night.

    Other growth for GCU will occur at offsite locations in other counties, as is the case for other colleges and universities in the state. The plan meets the zoning laws and more. Colleges and universities are an engine of economic growth for New Jersey and create the intellectual foundation for research, jobs, and solutions to complex problems.

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