TOMS RIVER-Unable to secure the necessary votes among current sitting and departing council members, Maurice Hill is going to have to wait until after the January township reorganization meeting to re-introduce an ordinance that will lower the minimum zoning requirement for houses of worship to 7 acres.
Currently, the existing zoning in the town is 10 acres for houses of worship, including churches and synagogues.
Hill, according to insiders this week tried to push the legislation on the outgoing Republican councilmembers and Mayor Thomas Kelaher but didn’t have the necessary votes to pass the ordinance.
Now, Hill will have to convince two Democrats, Terrance Turnbach and Laurie Huryk to vote for the measure along with his newly elected councilmembers Kevin Geoghegan, Josh Kopp, and Matthew Lotano if he wants to fulfill his campaign promise. Over the summer, the township drafted an ordinance that lowered the minimum acreage to two acres, but that plan was scrapped after it was discovered by Shore News Network and published before its first reading.
To date, the entire township council has denied their involvement in the two-acre change, but have hinted that they would pass the seven-acre version of the ordinance, but for now, Hill has to wait until his team officially secures power to get the measure pushed through the council.
Hill would need four votes which, if his team all supports his move, would need just one outside vote from either Republicans Maria Maruca or Daniel Rodrick. He could also turn to Turnbach and Huryk who appeared to have been sympathetic to the request earlier this year.
Coming later this week: Which Mo Hill Campaign Donors are Getting HUGE Public Contracts in January.