Ocean Schedules Hearing on Talmudic Academy

 

coaster-news-200-newA proposal to create a residential Talmudic Academy on Logan Road in the Wanamassa section of Ocean Township will have a special hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Tues., Feb. 24.

Board Secretary Maryanne Wilensky said the applicant, Yeshiva Gedolah Na’os Yaakov, Inc., based in Lakewood, has paid the additional $2,500 fee to pay for the special meeting. The meeting will be held at the Ocean Township High School, 550 W. Park Avenue, at 7 p.m. The entire three-hour meeting will be dedicated to this single application and a vote by the board might be expected.

An overflow crowd of concerned Ocean Township residents packed a recent hearing over a proposal to create the Talmudic Academy, which would house 96 college-age students.

Yeshiva Gedolah Na’os Yaakov is seeking approval from the Board of Adjustment to use a former elementary school, at 1515 Logan Road in the Wanamassa section, to house the academy. The proposed Talmudic Academy is not a permitted use in the zone and five out of the seven zoning board members, or two thirds, must vote in favor for any use change to go into effect.

More than 136 people, the room’s capacity, attended a Dec. 11 board meeting on the application and the township fire marshal announced that anyone else coming to the meeting would have to stand in an adjacent hall.

Residents then questioned the board why the meeting could not be housed in a larger facility. Most residents at the crowded meeting were from the Wanamassa section, where the academy will be located on a 2.9-acre parcel, with 336-feet of frontage on Logan Road.

The site was originally approved as an elementary school and a conditional use approval was granted in 1997 to allow for the boarding of students in grades 9 through 12, with no student being older than 18. A maximum number of 50 people, including students and staff, were permitted on site between midnight and 6 a.m. This boarding use was eventually discontinued and the building reverted back to strictly an elementary school.

The site is surrounded mostly by residential properties, with the Dave Dahrouge Park across Logan Rd. and some commercial properties to the west.

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