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UPDATE: Yeshiva Dormitory Public Hearing to Continue

No decision reached after the Jan. 9 Freehold Borough Planning Board. Hearing will continue at Feb. 13 meeting.

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.

CKROSS January 10, 2013 at 02:40 PM
As a life long resident of Freehold Borough I am shocked and saddened that this has gotten this far. This is a private school which means it's tax exempt and if this use variance is passed allowing the dormitory to be added to the property, who is going to absorb the cost of the sewer and water? We are, the tax payers! What business will rent from the remaining space available in the building? Most likely a hasidic business! This particular denomination does not consider the upkeep of property nor do they concern themselves with the property value of surrounding homes. This will inevidibly lead to the deterioration of our beautiful Olde Freehold! What will be next? A Mikvah?!
Richard January 10, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Does anyone know where they are planning to put this Dorm?
CKROSS January 10, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Yes- in the basement . 59 people and then there is a proposed additional living space for 10 people- the family of the Dean of the school. The planning board meeting last night was eye opening and I strongly encourage all residents of Freehold Borough to attend the next meeting on 2/13.
Alli Mechanic (Editor) January 10, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Hi Richard. Yes, the plans for the dorm show that the applicant would like to turn the lower level of the building on 32 Broad Street into a dormitory for 59 male students. More information on last night's hearing will be posted on our site later today.
Richard January 10, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Sorry Cara, I not familiar with these meetings where are they held? I totally agree with you.
CKROSS January 10, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Typically they are the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, that's what is posted on Freehold's home page. The next meeting that the public can attend is Wednesday 2/13 in Borough hall next to the fire house. Spread the word!
GMJ January 10, 2013 at 06:36 PM
It's interesting and sad to me that just last year there was a major backlash from the community over the mere potential of a charter school in town - a school that would benefit our children and community as a whole. The group proposing the charter was ridiculed and treated so poorly by many residents - and even some school board members - for proposing an idea that many others were actually in support of! And yet, somehow under our noses, this building has been approved as a yeshiva for 59 men who are not from Freehold, may not even be from the US, and who will in no way give back to our already frail community. To me that is the bigger issue. A dorm? Who cares. If it isn't approved these men won't exactly commute to the Broad Street School every day...they'll take up residence together somewhere else in town. It's beyond shady and will absolutely will change the dynamic of this town and not for the better. Very sad.
CKROSS January 10, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Indeed it is GMJ, in fact one of the Rabbis that raised a question to Mr. Clarke openly admitted to the meeting that 3 years ago he had never even heard of Freehold Borough and yet some of our own board members are welcoming this with open arms! To who's benefit?! A resident asked Mr. Geller, their planner, what the benefit would be to us and he had no answer.
GMJ January 10, 2013 at 07:01 PM
So ridiculous.
Carol January 10, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Ride down 524 in Adelphia and take a look at the Yeshiva just past Surrey Downs. That should answer any questions about how the facility will impact Freehold Boro.
CKROSS January 10, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Does it house 70 people?
Carol January 10, 2013 at 09:58 PM
You only need to ride down 524 in Adelphia and look at the Yeshiva just past Surrey Downs. Not a positive impact at all! Funny, I sent in a comment and for some reason it wasn't approved. It's now gone!
Carol January 10, 2013 at 10:00 PM
If the question about housing 70 people was directed at me and the Yeshiva on 524, yes, more than 70 people. You have to see it to believe it.
John Smith January 10, 2013 at 10:06 PM
I think Freehold has a much larger problem in the community. Is anyone doing anything about the countless number of illegals in town and the stress they put on the healthcare at Centrastate Medical Center? At least you will know who the 59 people are!
CKROSS January 10, 2013 at 10:24 PM
John, I wholeheartedly agree with you however that is unfortunately not the issue on the table at the moment~ and I have to be honest, we do not know who these 59 students are, they are historically not a part of Freehold Boroughs demographic, but my family and I are.
Carol January 10, 2013 at 10:51 PM
You will know who they are? How? Do you think you'll be given a student roster? I bet not and when it comes down to how many are living there, you can bet it will probably be over the original estimate. Living in the basement? How much footage is required per person? How many bedrooms and how many people per room? How many restrooms? You just have no idea what Freehold is in for.
Danielle January 11, 2013 at 12:47 AM
How about this just drive through Lakewood they destroyed that town . What I think is it's time to take back freehold get rid of the illegals don't let the Hasidic's in . Freehold is the county seat !
Lisa January 11, 2013 at 02:12 PM
In general, the Hassidic community tends to be aggressively and opportunistically litigious. I would hope that the planning board would take this into consideration if a denial is forthcoming.
sam brown January 14, 2013 at 03:16 PM
To answer your questions: If you did the correct research. The landlord bears all costs of new water/sewer lines into the building from the street ! This was mentioned in the meeting and you should have noted it. Tax except concerns the business, not the building. Real estate taxes are still paid to Freehold Boro by the landlord. As far as renting the remainder of the building, it is a separate issue and has nothing to do with the dormintory. This is the landlord's concern, not Freehold Boro. The upkeep of the property is provided by the landlord, not the tenants. Also, the students will have the ability to WALK to local stores to buy items that they need, therefore contributing to the local economy. Please use "due diligence" before making any further comments
sam brown January 14, 2013 at 03:18 PM
carol, do you know who all your neighbors are ??????
Carol January 14, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Mr "Brown" yes, in fact I do know who my neighbors are. They also know who I am. As far as your comment about the landlord keeping up the Broad Street property, one only has to look at the property on 524, or if one desires, they can ride to Cliffwood and view the property that once housed Manna House, that now houses Yeshiva students. You're absolutely correct that they "walk" to stores to do business, however you state that they generate revenue, well, they also generate chaos. They walk into the A&P 10 minutes before closing time at night. They run rampant in the store. They smoke in the store, which is certainly not allowed. You're portraying these students to be Rabbi's in training. Unfortunately, while some are, most aren't. They aren't an asset to a community, they're a detriment.
CKROSS January 14, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Due diligence? Answer this..what is the benefit to our community? No one in the community can attend this school! So why on earth would the town allow this other than someone's palm being greased!?!? Lakewood looks like a war torn Baghdad from the lack of care and upkeep. And perhaps YOU should have noted in the meeting that the students will walk to the stores to purchase KOSHER goods. Please tell me if 6-12 carries those items? Or is it CVS?
GFLOYYD January 14, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Are you all for real?
grace abramov February 07, 2013 at 12:01 AM
to mr gross's comment about the building being the landlords responsibility, did he read tha Asbury Park Pess 2 wks ago bout the living condition of some of their properties in Lakewood? some of you keep referring to the school on rt 524..when was the last time any of you went to or tried to get through Lakewood. Freehold is my hometown, but i lived briefly in Lakewood in 1963 when it was a beautiful town..grand hotels, a beautiful college and a park that was the estate of JD Rockafellow. tell me what happened to that town, i'll tell you because the people sitting on their bds did what they were told to do.this is how it starts, do you want that to happen inFreehold and it can? if it was a permitted use to have a dormitory in a basement and an apartment why are they asking for a variance? i wish i could be there tonight, but not being a resident any longer they probably wouldn't let me talk.. p.s i went to that school back in the 50's 1,2,3 grades.
CKROSS February 10, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Just want to remind everyone that the next meeting is this Wednesday at 7pm-- I would suggest everyone get there early since Mrs. Sims had reminded us several times at the last meeting that they don't like to run late because they are volunteers. Volunteers that are responsible for making very important decisions for our neighborhoods.

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