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Published 01/18/2008

Fair Lawn noise dispute tabled again

Staff Report

The Fair Lawn Zoning Board of Adjustment Monday night tabled an argument between the Fair Lawn Jewish Center/Cong. Bnai Israel and its neighbors until the board’s March 6 meeting. This marks the third time the debate has been tabled.

Attorneys Matthew DeMaria and Stuart Lieberman representing individual clients before the Fair Lawn Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting on Jan. 14, request minutes of meetings and records of lease agreements between the Fair Lawn Jewish Center/Cong. B’nai Israel and the International Youth Basketball league. Photo by Ken Hilfman
The Jewish center’s neighbors have filed complaints against the synagogue and the International Youth Basketball league, which rents the shul’s gym for games several times a week. Neighbors allege these games have become a disturbance to the entire neighborhood.

Attorneys Matthew DeMaria and Stuart Lieberman, who are representing the neighbors, requested minutes of meetings and records of lease agreements between the Jewish center and the basketball league in order to prove that the league is in fact a non-profit organization. The league’s status has been a point of contention among neighbors who believe it is a for-profit organization and therefore restricted from holding its events in the shul, according to shul bylaws.

The borough’s zoning officer issued a cease and desist order against the synagogue on Sept. 26 after complaints of excessive noise. The gym windows are left open, which allows noise from the basketball games to carry through the neighborhood, according to the neighbors’ complaints. The complaints allege that noise after the games as people exit the center has also become problematic.
Represented by Jeffrey Herrmann, the center filed an appeal, which earned it a stay on the cease and desist order and allowed the basketball league to continue to play while the matter is negotiated. After borough-led mediation between the two sides broke down in the fall, the zoning board agreed to hear the case.