TOMS RIVER, NJ – Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill is working with federal authorities for guidance on how to reduce Toms River’s 10 acre minimum for houses of worship. There is no lawsuit and no charges have been filed against the township, but Hill, who made a campaign promise to his Orthodox constituents in North Dover has been hard-pressed to find a way to make it happen.
Last summer, Hill tried to sneak a two-acre zoning ordinance into the mix last year, then once it became public denied any knowledge of it. He was called out by Toms River Councilwoman Laurie Huryk for lying about the ordinance, according to a report this week in the Asbury Park Press.
Toms River Councilman Daniel Rodrick remains the only elected official in Toms River that has opposed Mo Hill’s two-acre proposal. Rodrick said he felt that law was on the books for ten years and wasn’t designed to target any religion.
After the Department of Justice dropped its lawsuit against the township without ordering a two-acre minimum, Hill asked the Department for guidance on the 10 acre law. Hill is now in negotiations with the Department of Justice to try to get a formal request to lower the cap.
One of Hill’s largest financial donors, Scott Gartner, had threatened to sue the township if the ordinance was not changed.