The Community Development Block Grant is an important source of federal funding for community development improvements. Prior to deciding on an appropriate project Jackson Township must review the Ocean County CDBG Three Year Priority Needs & Objectives and select a project that meets the priorities of the County. For those municipalities with no designated targeted neighborhoods, which include Jackson Township, the county high priorities are:
- Removal of material/and or architectural barriers which restrict the mobility and accessibility of elderly and handicapped individuals to public facilities;
- Installation of curbing and sidewalks in areas where vehicular and pedestrian traffic conflict;
- Construction or reconstruction of drainage and roadway improvements in various older neighborhoods throughout the County.
In choosing a project, those projects that meet the category of high priority by the County have a greater chance of being approved and funded. Previously, Jackson has received CDBG funding for such projects as the Justice Complex Spray Park, handicap curb cuts along the roadways, onsite generator at the Senior Center, our barrier free I Can playground located in the Justice Complex, ADA enhancements to various parks and playgrounds, and various building renovations at the Senior Center.
This year, our project has been approved for the renovation of our Senior Center bathroom facilities. This includes many features that will be both beneficial to the users as well as environmentally friendly. The facilities will be barrier free, including auto openers on the entrance doors and all ADA compliant toilets. There will be LED lights, toilets and faucets with auto touch features, touch less hand dryers, low flow fixtures in the sinks and toilet areas, and all of the products will be of recycled content.
The Senior Center serves as a focal point for many programs and services relating to the public as well as our seniors here in Jackson Township. The Jackson Senior Center is in full swing throughout the year with low or no cost programs that are user friendly. We offer various fitness classes, including Zumba Gold, senior aerobics, and Slow Flow Yoga, as well as assorted exercises that can be modified for most fitness levels. We are proud to say all of these classes are sponsored and are offered at no charge to our seniors.
Local businesses have continued to support our Senior Center’s special events. Cooking demos, monthly birthday parties, pizza days, the Senior Center Volunteer Luncheon, and BINGO are just to name a few. These events are not to be missed! The Center also is the host to events and parties for the various holidays. There is a small fee charged to attend these programs as they always offer a hot lunch and great entertainment!
In addition to senior activities the Center hosts a variety of special programs. It also serves as a cooling station, a warming station, and a shelter during emergency situations. For information on everything offered at the Senior Center please call the office at (732) 928-2313.
Jackson Township, March 8, 2017: The Township Council of the Township of Jackson has introduced an ordinance that removes both public and private schools as permitted uses from residential zones and defines and prohibits “dormitories” throughout the Township. The purpose of the ordinance is to preserve the character of Jackson Township, consistent with the goals and objectives set forth in the Township’s Master Plan: “To achieve a pattern and mix of land uses that achieves various community planning objectives including the provision of quality residential neighborhoods, the protection of natural resources, the economic development of the community, and the creation of a livable and desirable community.
Schools remain permitted uses in specific zones within the Township including the PMURD, LC, NC and zones within the Pinelands. Additionally, the Master Plan created a Public Facilities and Education (PFE) Planning District, the intent of which is to designate lands for public facility and educational uses that are already committed to that purpose or are needed for a non-recreational public purpose in the future.
The Master Plan discusses extensively the planning principles behind the residential planning districts. In the R-1 Planning District “[t]The intent t of this planning district is to make the existing residential development conforming with the Land Use Plan and to enable limited in-fill development of the same nature and intensity with access to public infrastructure.” The intent of the R-9, R-15, R-20 and R- 30 Planning districts, “is to recognize the extensive existing single-family residential development in the Township with lot sizes that are less than one acre in size. The objective of these Planning Districts is to ensure that the existing development conforms with the Land Use Plan and to enable limited in-fill development of the same nature and intensity within or adjacent to existing neighborhoods.
The elimination of schools and dormitories from residential zones is consistent with the Master Plan because a zone was created for educational zones, and because the Master Plan contemplates the limitation of uses located within existing residential zones to the same nature and intensity as the surrounding development. Schools are permitted within certain zones of the Township, where the use of a school is harmonious with the surrounding uses and areas.
Dormitories do not qualify as permitted accessory uses to public or private day schools as day schools implicitly do not require housing of students. Dormitories are not clearly subordinate, attendant or concomitant uses to day schools nor does such use of a property bear a “reasonable relationship” to a day school. Prohibiting dormitories from a zone in which public schools are allowed would not violate N.J.S.A. 40:55D-66 because it is not the school itself that is being prohibited, but the unrelated dormitory use. Additionally, residential uses are not permitted in the Highway Commercial or Neighborhood Commercial zones.
The ordinance is non-discriminatory on its face. The federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) was enacted to protect individuals, houses of worship, and other religious institutions from discrimination in zoning laws. RLUIPA prohibits zoning regulations that substantially burden the religious exercise of churches or other religious assemblies or institutions absent the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest. The ordinance applies to both public and private institutions. Schools remain permitted in other dedicated zones throughout the Township.