New Jersey town settles discrimination suit

Jackson Township accused of discriminating against Orthodox Jews

Tri-State /
Jun.June 17, 2022 05:30 PM
Jackson Township Mayor Michael Reina (Jackson Township, iStock)

Jackson Township Mayor Michael Reina (Jackson Township, iStock)

A New Jersey town that allegedly used zoning ordinances to discriminate against the Orthodox Jewish community has settled a Department of Justice lawsuit.

Jackson Township’s council signed off on the settlement this week, Gothamist reported. The agreement, which still needs court approval, does not require the town to admit any wrongdoing.

There are penalties, though. The town will put $150,000 into a fund to compensate those hurt by the alleged actions of the community. Another $45,000 will go toward a civil penalty. The town will also be required to repeal any remaining discriminatory ordinances.

The Justice Department filed a religious discrimination lawsuit two years ago, claiming Jackson intentionally utilized zoning ordinances to restrict housing and religious schools that would have served the town’s growing Orthodox Jewish community as members relocated from enclaves in Brooklyn and Rockland County.

The lawsuit accused the town of violating the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and the Fair Housing Act.

The housing and religious school elements are connected, as the ordinances were meant to prevent the opening of religious boarding schools, according to NJ.com. The complaint stated that two ordinances passed in 2017 “expressly prohibit dormitories throughout Jackson, making it impossible for religious boarding schools to establish in the Township.” They were unanimously approved.

Jackson’s mayor is looking to turn the page.

“This governing body is committed to ensuring that we will do just that in order to foster one united community, respectful of all people who call Jackson home,” Mayor Michael Reina said in a statement.

That may be easier said than done, however, as civil lawsuits from the New Jersey attorney general and Agudath Israel are still pending.

About 500 Orthodox families reside in Jackson, according to NJ.com. The town borders Lakewood, which houses one of the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish communities.

[Gothamist] — Holden Walter-Warner





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    From left: CHIP’s Jay Martin; Met Council on Housing’s Kate Ehrenberg (CHIP, Met Council on Housing, iStock)
    Rent stabilization: dysfunctional by design
    Rent stabilization: dysfunctional by design
    Skylight Real Estate's Bennat Berger with 300 Grand Street (Skylight Real Estate, Street Easy, iStock)
    Scarcity play: Hoboken apartments fetch $56M
    Scarcity play: Hoboken apartments fetch $56M
    From left: U.S. Assemblymember Thomas Suozzi, Governor of New York Kathy Hochul, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Getty Images, iStock/Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)
    Hochul challengers bang pro-tenant drum before primary election
    Hochul challengers bang pro-tenant drum before primary election
    Marcus & Millichap Associate David Ferber in front of part of the 30-building, 319-unit portfolio concentrated in Jersey City (Marcus and Millichap, iStock)
    Hot rental market boosts NJ multifamily despite rate hikes
    Hot rental market boosts NJ multifamily despite rate hikes
    (L-R) Kathy Hochul, Lee Zeldin, AOC, Eric Adams, Samy Nemir Olivares (Getty)
    Here are the elections for real estate to watch
    Here are the elections for real estate to watch
    Gov. Kathy Hochul (Photo by Sasha Maslov)
    At REBNY gala, Hochul pledges to “support” real estate
    At REBNY gala, Hochul pledges to “support” real estate
    Rubenstein Partners' David Rubenstein and Warren Corporate Center (Rubenstein Partners, iStock)
    Tri-state deal roundup: King Kullen loses ground, Modell’s cavities filled
    Tri-state deal roundup: King Kullen loses ground, Modell’s cavities filled
    NRIA Fund president Rey Grabato (LinkedIn, iStock)
    Bankrupt NJ developer accused of $630M fraud
    Bankrupt NJ developer accused of $630M fraud
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...