Residents Appeal Hatikvah Decision
Two residents have appealed a July decision that allows the charter school to renovate a warehouse into a new school.
Two East Brunswick residents are appealing a decision to grant the Hatikvah School International Academy Charter School a variance to renovate a warehouse into a school building.
Deborah E. Cornavaca and Christine Rampolla filed an appeal on Aug. 20 that states, among other reasons, 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.”
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.
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.”
At the time of the hearing Hatikvah was represented by Lawrence B. Sachs, who also serves as the township’s Planning Board attorney. Cornavaca and Rampolla both spoke during the July hearing.
Last week, Gerstein said renovations to the 557,379-square-foot warehouse are expected to begin in a few weeks, with construction taking between six and 8 weeks. He also said that it’s likely students will be in the new building before the end of the current school year.
Business Administrator James White said the appeal, which will be heard by the Township Council, would not be placed on the council’s agenda until minutes of the July zoning board meeting are furnished by Rampolla and Cornavaca. On Tuesday afternoon, White said that the Clerk's office had received the necessary documents from the plaintiffs. Rampolla said the necessary documents had also been delivered to the defendents.
All transcripts can also be found on the townships website at http://www.eastbrunswick.org/content/885/101/default.aspx and then choosing "Zoning Board," then "Minutes," then "2012." The relevant transcripts are the minutes from the meetings on June 7, 2012, July 5, 2012 and August 2, 2012.
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