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Private High School Opened on Grove St., Ridgewood – With or without Approval of Village zoning & fire officials?

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, a private high school for boys is reported to be operating out of Ridgewood’s Temple Israel, located at 475 Grove Street. A magazine article indicates the school, which relocated to Ridgewood from a location in Tenafly, has 81 students and plans a move to Teaneck once zoning approvals are received from municipal officials there.

Although residents in the area surrounding Temple Israel have not noticed any appreciable motor vehicle or pedestrian traffic in past months, they now wonder if any approvals were required from Village zoning & fire officials prior to the school’s opening, and if so, were those approvals applied for and received.

Recently elected Village Councilman Evan Weitz is a Trustee and Board Member of Temple Israel. Maybe he knows if either his temple and/or the high school applied for and received all permits required by state, county, and municipal agencies for the operation of a school at that location. Village Code 190-100 stipulates that a Planning Board review would be required in this case (operation of a private school in an R125 zone). What say you Councilman Weitz?

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38 thoughts on “Private High School Opened on Grove St., Ridgewood – With or without Approval of Village zoning & fire officials?

  1. Temple Israel has had a religious school and has had other religious schools that use its building for many years. Over several past Ridgewood administrations there has been support for this use and for the Jewish Community. The property is zoned for a school and religious use and religious schools are protected under the First Amendment.

    1. Don’t make this about support of the Jewish community. That’s a diversion. This is nothing to do with the Jewish community. This is to do with plunking a school in the middle of a neighborhood. Jewish, Christian, nonsectarian. Does not matter.

    2. Religious organizations are not exempt from local zoning laws.

    3. A high school operating 5 days a week is quite different than an after school or after religious services educational program.

    4. Private schools may operate in the R125 zone on a conditional basis only, and a Planning Board review is required. Did that happen here?

    5. First Amendment rights do not extend to cover violations of zoning regulations.

    6. This same school has submitted an application to Teaneck’s Zoning Board of Adjustment, thus debunking your theory that the First Amendment exempts them from local approvals.

  2. What’s the traffic like ?

    Are there more cars coming down Grove Street now..?

    1. No. Neighbors have seen no noticeable impact since it’s something that has been part of the temple’s operations for years now.

      1. The magazine article says this HIGH SCHOOL recently moved here. It has not been here for years.

        1. This school started in September but other schools have operated legally, quietly and without concern at the site for years.

          1. I do not believe any of the previous schools operated on a full time basis, 5 days per week, with such a large enrollment.

    2. Yes.

  3. Shouldn’t there be a Drug Free School Zone established if a high school is in operation there? I live nearby and see no signs posted indicating such a zone exists.

    1. You mean like the drug free signs/zones by Holmsted School on Hope or the ones by Windsor Academy at Mount Carmel? Oh right. There are no signs near any of the many churches that house schools in the VOR because it is not required.

      1. Those other schools at churches are not operating full time, 5 days per week. The Holmsted School and Windsor Academy are. So is the school at Temple Israel.

  4. Sounds familiar. Like the private business in Habernickel and of course there will be more cars and buses. That goes hand in hand with businesses, schools and camps!!!

  5. Move along, nothing to see here.

  6. of course we all want religious freedom, but they still have to obey laws. Can they drive through red lights cause they are religious? Can they ignore zoning requirments beause they are religious? If there is a zoning requirement, then all should obey the law.

  7. A non issue – to even bring up. Honestly?

    1. A non issue? Seriously? A high school appears out of nowhere with no permits?

      1. A NON ISSUE.

        1. An issue.

          1. I understand.

  8. Unlawful unless the Village’s chief zoning officer indicated in writing that no Planning Board review was required. No religion is exempt from zoning requirements.

  9. It sounds like not to make people care about it. As long as everyone safe, that’s all it matters.

  10. Did you contact the Temple and find out what this is about….are they only opening their doors so a
    religious school can stay in session while it moves to a new or renovates its existing facility and is delayed.

    I would certainly not complain if a Ridgewood Church took in a reasonable number of chiristian high school students if they needed temporary accommodation and it caused no hardship to the community.

    1. Are you suggesting that The Blog is questioning this because it is a Jewish school??? Really???

  11. The slant of this post is a little suspect. I’m trying not to read too much into it, but it is strange that there doesn’t seem to be an issue with the use of the property:

    “[residents] have not noticed any appreciable motor vehicle or pedestrian traffic in past months, they now wonder if any approvals were required…”

    They could be the author or nobody, but not really a big deal. It’s always good to policing neighbors to make sure everyone is equally following the rules.

    Then you go and single out a councilman member and allege some mischief:

    “Maybe he knows if either his temple and/or the high school applied for and received all permits required … What say you Councilman Weitz?”

    OK, so did you reach out for a comment to anyone or just want to invent some negative attention first? I have no issue with shedding light on corruption if it exists, but this really makes me question the motives of the author and whether they have an axe to grind here. A school causing no complaints needs and (from the sound of it) adding a positive impact to the local community, so let’s rush to judgment?

    What say you author?

    Also, it looks like from a google search they were operating a different high school there for a few years, which implies they would not need new approval for the same activity that already existed there.

    1. The authors (plural) have no axe to grind with Councilman Weitz, who’s been in the job for only 60 days – not enough time to really piss anyone off. However, the authors wonder if a Village employee involved in zoning & inspection looked the other way knowing that a politically influential Trustee and Board Member of Temple Israel could make life difficult for him/her if the zoning codes were strictly enforced here. And what is the big deal about following rules? Aren’t the Temple’s neighbors entitled to the same protection from unlawful zoning infractions that other residents are? Why should they be told to look the other way just because a religious organization is hosting the school?

      1. Who are the authors??

        1. The staff of The Ridgewood Blog.

  12. a$$kisser out in force on this one

  13. My God, a lot of people have nothing to do you weren’t about this. Worry about the roads falling apart. Worry about our roads need to be swept, worry about the village over spending on vehicles, we don’t need, worry about things getting done in our town.

  14. Big Bals – it most certainly is an issue if you plop a high school into a neighborhood

    1. Why are you are actually responding to someone who identifies themselves as “Big balls”?
      Immature people like that should just be ignored when discussing adult matters.

    2. Where does one “plop a high school”, if not in a neighborhood. May I ask you this? If it came down to a vote, would you favor the high school?

  15. Don’t worry about it.


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