This story was updated at 12:00 p.m. with additional information from the Jan. 9 Freehold Borough Planning Board meeting.
A decision has still not been made about bringing a Yeshiva Dormitory to Freehold Borough.
For two and half hours, the Freehold Borough Planning Board heard from residents and representatives that were both for and against the dormitory. However, 9:30 p.m. struck before all discussion was completed, and the board decided to continue the hearing in February.
In August, the building’s tenant, David Rosenbaum, put forth an application to turn the former Broad Street School into a yeshiva, a Jewish educational institution. Following the approval of the school, Rosenbaum applied to turn the lower level of the building into a dormitory where 59 male students, the rabbi and his family could live.
While 32 Broad Street has been a number of different establishments over the years, it has never been a dormitory, and the application has caused many borough residents to speak out against the application. Before Wednesday’s meeting, a petition was sent around the Broad Street neighborhood, and received over 30 signatures in under an hour.
To make sure that the residents of Broad Street have been heard, Jean Holtz and Marianne Earle, of Broad Street, have hired Attorney Edward F. Liston Jr. to represent them during the public hearing.
During the meeting, Liston cross-examined Mike Geller, the planner of the dormitory, and Greg Clark, the architect. Residents and board members were also allowed to asked questions on Geller and Clark’s testimony.
Concerned residents filled the boardroom on Wednesday, and asked questions about the impact the dormitory would have on the borough. Many of their questions, which stemmed from previous concerns, included generator use, parking on borough streets and traffic that would result from meals that would need to be transported into the dormitory.
Following the cross-examinations, Liston called Gordon Gemma as a professional planner. Gemma started his testimony, but was unable to finish because of 9:30 p.m. cap placed by the board.
An important topic Gemma presented to the board was the fact that the decision the board was about to make would apply to the land, not just the applicant.
“If in fact you approve a dormitory, and later on the application changes, it may increase traffic,” stated Gemma. “You need to think long term about Freehold Borough’s master plan.”
The board decided to continue the public hearing before making a decision on the dormitory application. The hearing will begin where it left off with Gemma’s testimony at the Feb. 13 Planning Board meeting. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Freehold Borough Offices.
According to Liston, after Gemma’s testimony, he plans on calling two more people to speak to the board. The board will make its decision about the dormitory after a public comment session is held. That session will take place after all necessary persons are called.