MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — A judge ruled Cape Assist could resume the operation of a recovery high school at its Wildwood location, but the school will stay on the mainland for now.

Judge Julio Mendez last month approved a stay for Cape Assist after the group appealed a decision by the Wildwood Zoning Board that the nonprofit wasn’t zoned to run a school out of its building on New Jersey Avenue.

“Even though we were granted the ability to return to Cape Assist, we decided to remain in our current location in Cape May Court House,” said Toni Lehman, director of curriculum and instruction for the Middle Township School District, which runs the recovery school through a $500,000 state grant.

The recovery high school, Coastal Prep, helps teens in South Jersey recovering from addiction finish their high school career and earn a diploma. The school opened March 1 with four students at Cape Assist’s building in the 3800 block of New Jersey Avenue. Shortly after, the city’s Zoning Board deemed it was a change of use, as the area is not zoned for the school.

Two days after the zoning board’s decision, a fire broke out damaging the building, and the school was moved to a site in Cape May Court House.

Cape Assist appealed the Zoning Board’s decision anyway and was allowed to return through June with a maximum of eight students. Lehman said they decided to stay in Cape May Court House as they are processing their seventh student now.

She said Wildwood police are still investigating the fire.

Cape Assist Executive Director Katie Faldetta said last month the Wildwood location was only temporary and they always intended to have a new location by September.

Contact: 609-272-7251 CLowe@pressofac.com Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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