West End Synagogue Application To Conclude in March

Board hears final testimony on Monday night

The end is in sight for Chabad of the Shore's application before the Long Branch Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) to build a synagogue in West End.

The board heard the final testimony in the case on Monday night and will conclude the case during a special meeting on March 11, Long Branch zoning board Chairwoman Terry Janeczek said.

At that time, the board will ask any final questions they have, and the public will also have a chance to be heard before the board votes on the application.

Chabad wishes to build a two-story building that contains a 200-seat sanctuary, a 200-person capacity multipurpose room with a kitchen on the second floor, and five classrooms, office space and a room for religious services on the second floor. A large, 51-space parking lot in the rear of the property also is included in the plan.

The plan would include the demolition of an old movie theater on Ocean Avenue and two stores south of the structure; Mike's West End Deli, which is now vacant, and Lou's Uniforms. There are also two vacant apartments above the stores.

A synagogue is not a permitted use in the commercial zone, so Chabad of the Shore is looking to obtain a use variance to utilize the site and also obtain some minor bulk variances for parking and setbacks.

Thomas Hirsch, an attorney representing several West End business owners, cross-examined Chabad of the Shore's planner Richard Preiss on Monday night and argued that a synagogue is not a beneficial use in a commercial zone.

Hirsch said the synagogue will not bring the same benefits to the area that a permitted use such as a store or restaurant would bring.

Preiss agreed, but said that the building would "still be a draw, just maybe not to the extent of a retail use."

Janeczek said approving the synagogue would not follow the city's master plan which calls for smaller scale businesses in the C-3 zone.

Preiss said the sanctuary said his interpretation of the master plan leads him to believe that the sanctuary will still fulfill its requirements, including bringing foot traffic to the area.

It was also revealed during the testimony that Chabad of the Shore attempted to build its synagogue at two different Ocean Avenue locations and another location on West End Court, but that they never materialized.

DJGigs January 29, 2013 at 12:21 PM
Chabad by teh shore never looke dinto other locations. They merley asked. We checked out the claims last night and found out they had just recently (last week went to one of the locations . The person said " they told him its just a formaility they needed to go through to meet requirements (to quell some people) What is interesting is how NO ONE is bringing up the other Retail locations in that same front that are going to be closed down "such as mikes subs" Also lets not forget the block to the loeft "MANNA and Bonello's old office. That whoel area will be renered usless..
DJGigs January 29, 2013 at 12:23 PM
Sorry typing from a (tty term , no backspaces here^^
Just a Thought... January 29, 2013 at 12:39 PM
This is a commercial zone... how can they even consider overturning this? This should be made retail space/restaurants of some kind. Allowing this would change the whole demeanor of this area whether, it should not be made a house of worship of any kind, privatized so no one from the area can enjoy it? There is a whole bank of stores/buildings that I am sure there is someone out there that can turn this area around to benefit all residents/visitors and benefit the city and taxpayers too.. Keep it zoned commercial save the integrity of West End..
joe January 29, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Why even have zoning laws if they can be overturned. They were made for a reason.
Beth Woolley January 29, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Why don't they look at the old Star of the Sea School on Chelsea and Third Aves. It already has the designation for a religous nonprofit. It is located a short walking distance from the hospital which would greatly serve it's community and it is also a short walking distance from Pier Village and the train.I'm sure the Bd. of Ed will sell it for a fair price and as an added benifet if they historically restore the building they could apply to have it listed and would be eligible for grant money for the repairs.
rachael dworsky January 29, 2013 at 01:16 PM
And how long has the old theatre been empty? 30 years? Just admit you don't want Chadbad instead of hiding behind zoning laws, which get changed all the time.
DJGigs January 29, 2013 at 01:20 PM
And the funny part is look who Ownes the property? Same peopel who are trying to convert it. But yet you get "Whats it been doing for teh last 30 years? Ill tell what its been doing "NOT BEING A MONSTROSITY OF A HOUSE OF WORSHIP ONLY MADE FOR "YOUR" PEOPLE... RIGHT NOW ANYONE WHO WALKS BY THAT FEELS AT HOME. face it you want the whole of west end. sorry charlie your premature celebration is just that premature '
DJGigs January 29, 2013 at 01:23 PM
and lets not forget to add teh park into the equation , how much of it is going to be taken away ? and it was called small ..hmm that small park seems to get a lot of use.
Cranky HR Guy January 29, 2013 at 01:41 PM
This is not an issue about religion or specific groups. This is a community zoning plan that calls for a business district, which implies commercial businesses to provide goods and services, to generate jobs and revenue and to pay taxes while possibly also affording the opportunity for apartment units. The zoning plans for such commercial districts exist for very important reasons and such commerce cannot be conducted anywhere else... houses of worship can be put in MANY optional places in town. The property has been vacant for many reasons but the opportunity for the current owner to redevelop for a proper commercial use has not been exploited and it stands to reason that this owner let this property deteriorate for the sole purpose of making it seem blighted to support this non-conforming application.
beachlover January 29, 2013 at 01:50 PM
Especially with the loss of the other retail stores because of the fire last year, this is less and less appealing. I think there are better locations for the synagogue than in the middle of a commercial zone on Ocean Ave where there tends to be a lot of beach traffic in the summer. People driving down to the shore aren't going to stop and pull over to check out a synagogue, but they will to check out a good restaurant or interesting store front which in turn leads to possible walking around West End and doing some shopping. Sorry, bad idea for West End and the small businesses that already exist there.
Kathy A January 29, 2013 at 02:00 PM
To be perfectly honest, my biggest gripe is with the fact that Chabad is, and has been, operating ILLEGALLY in it's current location! I do NOT want anyone who has so blatantly disregarded the laws to be allowed to continue and flourish! I don't care what the denomination is. If this is the sneaky, arrogant type of attitude that they have, what makes anyone think that they will follow any laws or keep any agreements that they make? As far as moving to the old Star of the Sea school, that might be a good idea, but they'll never go for it. You know why? Because it's not in a "nice" part of town-there are too many of "those" people. Rachel, would you go to worship there?
jim leyritz January 29, 2013 at 02:01 PM
It could be there 100 years for all I care. I'll readily admit that I don't want it regardless of the zoning laws. Ask yourself this question Rachael, will the Chabad pay taxes on the property? Will the parishioners patronize any of the existing businesses or restaurants in the immediate vicinity? What is the benefit to the immediate area?
DJGigs January 29, 2013 at 02:14 PM
@KAthy Last night all you heard from there Attorney and planner is there "LUPPA" or however you spell it. BAsically what they where trying to convey is they do not have to follow any of our laws, But yet in the same breath and statement they sited our US constitution and NJ Constitution. So what is it you are goig to Follow our Laws or not? If so stop staing about your Bi laws. it was almost being stated to me as a slight threat,. I cannot wait for the open public questions. The first question I hope gets asked is do you feel you do not have to abide by any of our laws? Do you feel you are above them and do you feel your people are above us? Because the arrogance of operating illegally is pretty obvious. As was posted in there newspaper. Blatent disregard for any of our laws http://www.njjewishnews.com/njjn.com/092106/moChabadAtTheShore.html take a look at that . Talk about Arrogance..
DJGigs January 29, 2013 at 02:17 PM
From the above link At its new 1,800-square-foot location (the former site opened four years ago several miles away from the main Ocean Avenue thoroughfare), the center will be more accessible to all Jews in Monmouth County and will be a place where all can feel at home, regardless of background, added Schapiro. So Why isnt LONG BRANCH STOPPING THEM ? and why has it now gone from 1500 to 1800 sq feet
Get Over It January 29, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Why you ask is Long Branch not stopping them due to the fact that your Mayr probably supports it..
Cranky HR Guy January 29, 2013 at 11:09 PM
The decision is to be made by our Zoning Board and the case law supports the proper decision to deny the application and force this non-conforming use to stop.
DJGigs January 30, 2013 at 12:37 PM
So the MAyor supports ILegally operated buisinesses? hmm
Lou January 30, 2013 at 12:45 PM
This would be the most inappropriate site for any religious domination. This is a store front. Buy something South of Cedar.
Lou January 30, 2013 at 01:05 PM
If the Zoning Board's meetings are on TV, will you please let me know. Thanks
DJGigs January 30, 2013 at 01:06 PM
They are not ... Interesting HA?
tired of nonsense January 30, 2013 at 09:45 PM
no please no!!
McWLB February 02, 2013 at 12:42 PM
First, the so called benefits argued were entirely circumstantial and had no basis in fact or any quantifiable methodology. They were frankly suppositions. The examples cited were from the city of Teaneck. Teaneck? Really? Two areas as different as night and day. In removing a large commercially zoned area in West End you destroy the fragile economy which already had a major point of negative impact with the fire. This area has traditionally been a retail zone noted for its quaint shops and restaurants. Do we really want to substantially change the area ? I find the entire issue odd in that the old theatre has sat not because of the lack of offers but rather due to the owner placing such a high sale on the property. If one does not really want to sell that is exactly what one does. It presents many interesting and unanswered questions.
McWLB February 02, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Why is this being referred to as the West End Synagogue? Is it not operating in violation of the zoning laws and ordinances? Was it not originally permitted as offices only? As i recall the Rabbi admitted under oath to this blatant violation.How and why has this not been addressed and or a citation and hearing not scheduled? It appears something is miss.
Lou February 03, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Why is Leslie Schneider on the Zoning board?


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