Hatikvah Appeal to Be Heard in November
The Township Council will hear testimony regarding the appeal of a use variance granted to the school in July. The variance allows the school to renovate a warehouse into a school building.
A challenge to a variance granted to the Hatikvah International Academy Charter School could be heard by the Township Council on Nov. 19, according to Township Administrator James white.
In July, the Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously approved a variance that will allow Hatikvah to renovate the warehouse into a school. The building, 7 Lexington Ave., is located in a planned industrial zone and a variance is needed to open a school in the zone. The warehouse is surrounded by similar warehouses, including Vending Trucks Inc.
On Aug. 20, two residents filed an appeal of the variance, stating, among other reasons, that the variance should not have been granted because “there was a conflict of interest,” and that “the board did not permit a complete record to be made.”
The appeal also states that “the applicant failed to show that the relief can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good,” and “the applicant failed to show that the relief sought will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the zone plan and zoning ordinance.”
According to White, the appeal must be heard by the Township Council, and a tentative date of Nov. 19 has been set.
In addition, Gerstein told the East Brunswick patch that the school is planning to take action regarding a letter from the township stating that it is in violation of the township’s land-use ordinance because of a higher than allowed enrollment at the school.
According to Gerstein, the school “has indicated to the town that it plans to file an amendment to the zoning resolution. This action stays any possible violation until the application is ruled on.”
The township could not confirm if anything had been filed as of Tuesday.
In a letter to the school, Gregory Potkulski, director of the township Department of Planning said:
“Testimony presented at the hearing indicated that total school enrollment would be limited to no more than 152 students,” state the letter. “Therefore, because total enrollment now exceeds that number, the applicant and property owner are in violation of the terms of the approval, and as a result, are in violation of the Township's land-use ordinance," said the letter.