Jackson settles legal issue with plaintiff who sought to build high school

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JACKSON — As one of their final acts in 2022, the members of the Jackson Township Council voted to authorize a settlement agreement in the matter of Oros Bais Yaakov High School v. the Jackson Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Council members authorized the settlement during a meeting on Dec. 13. When resident Sheldon Hofstein asked if the settlement means the proposed high school would be built in Jackson, the members of the governing body said “yes.”

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According to a resolution regarding the matter, in August 2013, Oros Bais Yaakov High School, the contract purchaser of property on Cross Street currently zoned Neighborhood Commercial and Rural Residential, submitted an application to the zoning board seeking preliminary and final major site plan and use variance approval in connection with the proposed construction of a high school on the Rural Residential property.

Following public hearings on the application, the members of the zoning board voted to deny the application on June 18, 2014.

On Oct. 15, 2014, Oros Bais Yaakov High School filed a complaint in state Superior Court, Toms River. The complaint was amended on June 14, 2017.

In its action against Jackson, Oros Bais Yaakov High School “asserted claims against (the township) for injunctive relief and monetary damages under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, the First and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and New Jersey state law arising from the zoning board’s denial of the application and land use regulation of the property.”

Since that time, according to the resolution, “the parties engaged in lengthy discovery and limited motion practice” and have “determined to resolve all aspects of the action without further litigation, controversy and inconvenience … ”

During the Township Council’s Dec. 27 meeting, Hofstein returned to ask municipal officials for details of the settlement that had been authorized two weeks earlier.

Specifically, Hofstein asked if the high school would be built as it had originally been proposed almost a decade ago and what the financial cost of the settlement would be to Jackson.

Township Attorney Gregory McGuckin told Hofstein the settlement with Oros Bais Yaakov High School has not yet been fully executed and therefore, details of the agreement could not yet be released to the public.

McGuckin said details of the settlement, including the information Hofstein requested, will be made public when the agreement has been fully executed between the parties.

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