LAKEWOOD, NJ – In 2012, the Lake Terrace Banquet Hall in the Lakewood Industrial Park attracted national attention when it hosted then-presidential candidate Romney. That reception held for Republican donors from the Lakewood Orthodox Jewish community netted Romney nearly a quarter of a million dollars for his campaign according to reports at the time.
Today, Lake Terrace hosts lavish weddings and events and is now being sued for violating the state’s COVID-19 restrictions on large indoor gatherings and other various charges levied by Clayton Associates, a manufacturer of vacuum systems and source capture tools.
According to the complaint filed by Clayton Associates, represented by the law firm of RC Shea & Associates of Toms River, the banquet hall has held numerous large indoor events in clear violation of the state’s cap on indoor events and guests were neither social distancing nor wearing masks, the company contends. The root of the problem stems from Clayton’s other complaint that guests of Lake Terrace use their industrial parking lot and have caused damage to sprinkler systems and other property damage.
“As a result of the improper use of operating as a banquet hall facility, nuisances have been created impacting the Clayton Associates, Inc. business property, its customers, and employees,” Clayton said in its lawsuit. “The attendees of the banquets fill their parking lot, park along Oak Street at which time it becomes impossible for our trucks to enter and exit the driveways. The cars parking illegally on both sides of the street prohibits our truck movements.”
Typically used for Orthodox Jewish weddings, Lake Terrace hosted a large festival on September 28th. Even though the company blocked off their lot, guests attending the festival drove across their lawn.
“There has been increased daily traffic, parking issues, loud music and garbage debris blowing over to neighboring properties. Most recently a festival went on for four days the week of September 28, 2020. The parking was so unsafe that Lakewood Police was called in to direct traffic in front of our building. Vehicles were driving through their lot, across the lawn. Plaintiff tried to use their vehicles to block their driveways to reserve the same for their workers but the attendees drove across the lawn and parked in the rear loading areas, prohibiting Plaintiff’s trucks from the parking,” the lawsuit reads. “These events within the last months have been the week in the day time hours directly conflicting with the operations of surrounding businesses.”
Clayton claims they, as well as others, have also witnessed illegal parking throughout the area, leading to visitors to the property driving across lawns destroying grass, landscaping, and breaking sprinkler heads. These are expensive repair costs that their business must pay for. The company says they have been photographing and documenting the events held at the hall.
The once existent row of shrubs that acted as a buffer between the properties was cut down by the banquet hall, which now allows the trash to blow onto the Plaintiff’s property, the company claims.
“The recent massive events held on the property consisted of excessive crowds of upwards of 500-1000 attendees, clearly failing to abide by the social distancing and almost never wearing facemask mandates of the State of New Jersey, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the lawsuit claims. “Aside from the multiple nuisances, the property’s recklessness is creating a COVID-19 exposure risk to the Plaintiff’s business as well as those that operate on the surrounding properties and their employees and customers.”
Judge Marlene Lynch ford is expected to hear the case on December 21st.