TOMS RIVER-Toms River officials on Friday drafted a resolution to lower the zoning on houses of worship in North Dover from 10 acres to 2 acres. That ordinance which was drafted for the township Land Use Committee also called for a 3-acre reduction in zoning for houses of worship outside of North Dover.
The ordinance was crafted by township hired attorneys Anthony Merlino and Marci Hamilton.
By Friday evening, rumors spread across the county about the ordinance change. Later in the day, it was learned that Toms River Councilman George Wittman pulled the resolution from the board’s next meeting agenda.
On Monday morning, Councilman Maurice Hill who is running for mayor issued a press release saying he does not support the resolution drafted by the lawyers the township had hired.
“My colleagues and I on the Council approved the existing zoning regulations for Houses of Worship over the last 10 years and I think we got it right,” said Hill, a four-term councilman. “I don’t know what the lawyers are thinking, but I am opposed to these changes as a Councilman and I will oppose them as Mayor if I am elected.”
The Asbury Park Press Reported:
Among the changes included in the report are:
- Reducing the amount of land needed for a house of worship from 10 to 7 acres.
- Allowing churches and places of worship as conditional uses in the rural residential zone. Houses of worship were removed as conditional uses from that zone in 2009.
“First the Democrats accuse Mo of being ‘cozy’ with the Orthodox and now they accuse him of lying about his opposition to zoning changes for house of worship. Good luck with that,” Mo Hill’s campaign Facebook page read today, referring to Hill’s affiliation with his neighbor Scott Gartner, a resident who has lobbied for the zoning changes. Gartner had supported Hill during this year’s Republican primary campaign.
Hill added that he will host a Facebook live session today at 2pm.