UPDATE: Lakewood Planning Board To Hear Ordinance Allowing Banquet Halls At All Schools

The Lakewood Township Planning Board is scheduled to vote at their Tuesday meeting on an ordinance which would legalize catering facilities and banquet halls for all schools, according to tonight’s schedule.

According to the text of ordinance 2022-046, which was introduced last month at the Township Committee hearing, “where schools are permitted uses, catering facilities and banquet halls shall be allowed as accessory uses in the schools buildings.”

Under current law, the township is silent when it comes to most schools regarding them having a catering or banquet hall on its premises, as opposed to Shuls and hotels, which are allowed to have them.

Although many schools in town do indeed have a banquet hall in their building, that is usually because they were later allowed as an “accessory use for the school,” a complex term which can be legally difficult to define precisely.

According to this new proposed ordinance, which will undergo its first reading at tonight’s meeting, if the area used for the banquet hall is under 800 square feet, then no new parking spaces will need to be added.

But if the area used is between 800 and 1,999 square feet, only 0.75 parking spaces will be required for every 100 square feet of space being utilized for the hall.

And if the hall is 2,000 square feet or greater, then 1 parking space for every 100 square feet will be required.

It is not clear exactly how the 0.75/1 parking spot ratio has been determined.

It is also not clear if schools will even be required to provide additional parking spot on top of what they already have.

A careful reading of the proposed ordinance seems to indicate that a school’s existing spots would work towards the total number of spots needed for the banquet hall.

If they are short, then new parking spaces would be required to be provided.

It should be noted that these new parking requirements, if adopted, will only be for future halls.

According to the ordinance, the Planning Board Report “shall identify any provisions within the Proposed Amendment to the Plan that are inconsistent with the Township’s Master Plan, the recommendations concerning those inconsistencies and any other matters the Planning Board deems appropriate.”

If the Planning Board Report is not transmitted to the Committee within 35 days, the Committee shall be relieved of the requirement to obtain a Planning Board Report for the Proposed Amendment to the Plan in accordance with N.J.S.A. and may bring up the ordinance for a second reading.

The Planning Board meets tonight at 6pm.

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  1. Maybe we can have The Lakewood Planning Board also discuss adding more spots for “Handicap Parking”. Many Shuls have only 2 spots. The problem is that sometimes someone takes one of the spots to quickly run in and out and sometimes it is some kind of a delivery. The real truth is that usually only one handicap spot is available.
    I think it is fair that when grandparents make a trip to come to a Simcha all the way from New York, why do they have to walk a nice distance at night. Also the local grandparents should not have to walk a lot if they are handicapped.
    I personally saw a teenager park in a handicap spot and he ran inside. He did not appear handicap to me.

  2. Borough Park #2 being built right under our noses. Just what we need. This planning board is very shortsighted.

  3. I remember being told by older people, when I was growing up, how they remember what a beautiful residential neighborhood borough park was years ago. That is what I tell my kids about Lakewood. A real pity. It could have become a bustling frum metropolis and at the same time retained some of it’s open space had it been done with seichal.

  4. Just when we thought that Lakewood building couldnt get worse we find out there could be banquet halls in schools. So first they allow schools to go up anywhere including on residential blocks all over and then they put halls in them so that the traffic, noise, parking will be torture for people unfortunate enough to live there. I say that each member of the board be placed on such a block for 1 month and then decide what they think. Unfortunately it seems to be a continuing if the building industrial complex.

    • I dont see a reason why we should discourage schools from having banquet halls – its in our best interest. (However, large halls should not be allowed at all in residential neighborhoods – even with parking)

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