*** BREAKING ***
Shalom Lamm Development Makes National Headlines
*** WALL STREET JOURNAL ***
Battle Over Upstate Housing Project Enters New Phase
Town of Mamakating alleges it was misled on number of new residents; developer accuses town of religious discrimination
An upstate New York town has threatened to rescind approvals for a housing project marketed to Hasidic Jews, the latest chapter in a yearslong conflict between local residents and the developers.
The planning board for the Town of Mamakating, about 75 miles northwest of New York City, alleged in a resolution last week that the developer misled…
August 27, 2015
BLOOMINGBURG – The legal tussles over Shalom Lamm’s Chestnut Ridge development went through another loop this past week, while the little town of Bloomingburg found national fame again, this time in the pages of the Sunday Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile the surrounding Town of Mamakating is looking to shift its voting future by shifting, if approved, to a new ward voting system.
In the August 23 WSJ, reporter Joseph De Avila, covered the development’s history with some attention to its messy origins, the role of former Mamakating supervisor and local developer Duane Roe, misunderstandings involving a once-mentioned 125 unit golf community, and finally the reaction, years later, when 396 townhomes had long since been approved but the area learned that Mr. Lamm might be selling homes to Hasidic families. Dueling quotes from Lamm and Mamakating supervisor Bill Hermann cast everything in a stark duality. Hermann was quoted saying the way the project was sold to the village planning board and overall community was a “betrayal.” Lamm dismissed this concept saying, “It’s only in dispute in the mythology.”
While the WSJ appeared to lean in Lamm’s favor, lamenting that it’s now almost ten years since he began the quest to build in Bloomingburg, in court the Town of Mamakating again sought a temporary restraining order to halt the 24 certificates of occupancy that had been released by the Village of Bloomingburg just the week before. State Supreme Court justice Stephan Schick granted that request on August 20 and set a September 8 hearing date. However, on Monday morning, August 24, Lamm’s lawyers were able to persuade Appellate Division judge Michael Lynch to hear their appeal, after which Judge Lynch overruled Schick and lifted the restraining order.
The 24 certificates of occupancy are again valid and Lamm announced that he will continue to press for more certificates since families have since contracted to buy homes in the Chestnut Ridge development and are applying for mortgages. However, the lawsuit against the COs by the Town of Mamakating will continue, with the September 8 hearing in Justice Schick’s court still in effect.
Lamm has completed construction on fifty-one of the 396 homes approved by the Bloomingburg planning board back in 2008.
Meanwhile, many observers wonder what may happen next in the civil rights lawsuit filed by Lamm against the town and village, as well as a countering lawsuit filed by the town against Lamm on civil racketeering charges. At the same time, it appears that the FBI investigation into events leading up to the village board and mayoral election in the spring of 2013 is continuing.
Finally, petitions started circulating in Mamakating this week for a November referendum vote to establish future voting wards for the purposes of electing town councilpersons and increase the size of the town council from four to six persons. Petition signing efforts were being set up at town hall this past week, on Thursday evening at a Mamakating Library BBQ, and on Saturday morning in Mamakating Park.