The GOP in Rockland “Fearing Takeover” is Supporting a DA Candidate Allied with the Same “Feared” – Stirring Hate Soup…

A storm is brewing in Rockland County, N.Y., a campaign ad says.

As dramatic music pulses in the background, the Rockland County Republican Party’s video first targets what the party considers overdevelopment in the county of about 329,000 people.

Then it takes a turn. County Legislator Aron Wieder, an Orthodox Jew who supports new housing developments, is “plotting a takeover” that threatens “our way of life,” the advertisement proclaims. After the video asks what’s at stake, the words “Our Families” are overlaid on a photo of a white, non-Orthodox couple and their children posing on a front lawn.


Development, and how much of it is too much, recently has been a flash point in Rockland County. A town board meeting in Ramapo this month featured nearly two dozen speakers complaining that 220 planned housing units favored ultra-Orthodox Jews at the expense of secular residents, the Rockland/Westchester Journal News reported.

In March, Rockland County banned unvaccinated children from public spaces amid New York’s largest measles outbreak in decades. Day said during a news conference at the time that authorities would not search for unvaccinated children, but parents who were found to be in violation could be charged with a misdemeanor. The action came at a time when health authorities were raising concerns about decreased vaccination rates and measles outbreaks in communities including ultra-Orthodox Jews. An outbreak in Rockland “has mainly affected the Orthodox Jewish community in Spring Valley and Monsey,” the news website reported.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

Jackson, NJ Board Members Resign After Allegations of Religion-Based Zoning Rulings


Three members of Jackson Township boards dealing with development have tendered their resignations, following the release of recordings of their attendance at a meeting aimed at stopping the construction of a housing project geared towards Orthodox Jews.

Controversy began after an anonymous leak to local officials and media surfaced that Richard Egan, who was a member of Jackson’s Planning Board, and Sheldon Hofstein and Joseph Sullivan who served on its Zoning Board, were present at what was labeled as the town’s inaugural CUPON meeting. CUPON (Citizens United to Protect Our Neighborhoods) has been active in New York’s Rockland County for some time, largely focusing on efforts to oppose the growth of the Orthodox community there.

The meeting was held two weeks ago at Jackson’s Miller Road Fire House and was reportedly attended by some 28 residents. Included on its written agenda was discussion of an upcoming Planning Board application for Jackson Trails, a development for more than 460 homes and a shul in an area of the town near the border with Manchester Township, far from the area of Jackson that borders Lakewood, and which is already home to several hundred Orthodox families.

Very brief clips of a recording of the meeting, released through the Lakewood Scoop, feature the three men acknowledging that their presence at the gathering must be kept secret.

“We’re not supposed to be here,” Mr. Hofstein said. “Nobody saw us.”

“We didn’t sign in, we’re neutral like invisible,” said Mr. Egan.

“We weren’t here,” said Mr. Sullivan.

A source who has listened to the entire audio recording but requested anonymity, told Hamodia that all three took an active part in conversations strategizing to block Jackson Trails’ application.

The planning meeting held four days later was attended by some 175 residents. Just before it commenced, Gregory McGuckin, who serves as an attorney for Jackson as well as being its assemblyman, approached Mr. Egan and asked that he recuse himself from taking part in the meeting.

Presumably under pressure from town officials that their continued participation would throw a further pall over the town’s zoning and planning decisions, Mr. Egan and Mr. Sullivan submitted their resignations this past Friday, and Mr. Hofstein added his on Monday.

Robert Nixon, who serves as president of Jackson’s Town Council told Hamodia that he welcomed the resignations.

“Council was surprised and disappointed at the allegations made recently against members of our Planning and Zoning Boards and we support their decision to step down,” he said. “The focus of the Zoning and Planning Boards have always been, and must only be, on the law governing land use and Jackson’s Master Plan.”

Zoning Board appointments are made by the town council, and those to the Planning Board are made by the town’s Mayor, Michael Reina.

Jackson has struggled to keep its town boards staffed in recent years, following a series of scandals. Robert Burrows, a former Zoning Board member, has been the author of several online anti-Semitic tirades. In 2017, Larry Schuster was forced to resign after anti-Semitic and other offensive comments he made online were discovered, only weeks after Anthony Marano was forced from the board over an arrest for possession of illicit materials and resisting arrest.

At the time, members of the council called for more rigorous background checks to be made before admitting applicants to serve on town boards.

The recent resignations could complicate Jackson’s ongoing legal woes as well. In 2017, the town was sued by the Agudath Israel of America, which claimed that ordinances that banned the construction of new schools and eruvinwere motivated by bias against the Orthodox community.

Officials had entered into arbitration, but negotiations stalled and a trove of emails revealed by a FOIL request between the mayor and council members seemed to reveal that talks were little more than a stalling tactic. The cases are currently moving forward.

Prior to the Agudah’s action, Jackson had been sued by Oros Bais Yaakov over the township’s denial of its application to build.

To continue reading click here.

Rezoning Projects by the Books in Crown Heights, Hardly… Judge Halts Project

Arrested development: Judge halts controversial Crown Heights project amid legal battle

A Kings County Supreme Court judge slapped a controversial mixed-use development with a temporary restraining order on April 17, after local anti-gentrification advocates claimed the developer used every trick in the book to avoid having to preform a state-mandated environmental-review process, while the city let them get away with it to pave the way for more affordable housing.

We fought the Department of City Planning, and watched our elected officials allow the developer to lie on their applications, so they did not have to be held accountable for creating the largest residential complexes in Brooklyn,” said Alicia Boyd, founder of anti-gentrification group Movement to Protect the People.

The city awarded developers Cornell Realty and Carmel Partners the rights to build two 16-story towers near Franklin Avenue and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden at 40 Crown St. and 931 Carroll St. following a rezoning process that capped off with a December Council vote, where Crown Heights Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo wielded her key vote as the area’s representative to green-light the project, in exchange for the developer’s promise to expand the project’s affordable-housing component from 140 to 258 units.

But Boyd’s suit — which names the Department of City Planning and Cumbo as co-defendants, in addition to Cornell — alleges that the developers lied on re-zoning and building documents to underplay the scope of their proposed mixed-use project, misstating the amount of new residential units included in the development and ignoring vast swaths of affected land in a preliminary assessment of the project.

And fudging the numbers allowed the developers to illegally circumvent a much more thorough environmental review of the project, which the advocates claim would have demonstrated a serious strain on local sewers, roads, and schools as a result of the towers and the influx of new Crown Heights residents they would attract.

To continue reading click here.

RAMAPO, NY- Understanding the “Envision Ramapo Initiative” and Charrettes – Meeting Announcement

urgent ramapo update action needed tonight january 23

Dear Neighbors and Concerned Citizens:

Please read the [above] attached update about a critically important Town initiative that could severely impact Ramapo for years to come.  

It is important that you understand the threat behind the “Envision Ramapo” initiative, the Northeast Ramapo Strategic Plan, the neighborhood “charrettes,” and other related parts of the Town’s new strategy.  You may have already been asked to engage in a letter-writing campaign or to otherwise support the Big Development agenda without realizing what you are being asked to be part of.  

Whatever you feel about how much or what type of development should take place in Ramapo and its villages, I am sure you agree that an irresponsible or incompetent approach to development will make all residents of Ramapo unsafe and is just plain inexcusable.  

For those who want more infomation, I have attached a somewhat longer explanation of the background.  Feel free to be in contact with me directly with any questions you may have.

**Please try to attend tonight’s meeting.  It is a public meeting and you will be able to speak if you wish.  You should find plenty of talking points in the attachments.  It is very important that those running the Town understand that there is widespread and vigorous opposition to this gambit, including from the Orthodox community.  

I personally believe it will be most effective to focus our comments on a very specific and essential set of demands (see below) rather than criticizing everything or simply expressing anger or frustration.  I believe almost every resident in Ramapo wants the Town to stop shirking its responsibilities when it comes to traffic, drainage, and water supply – which are all safety issues as well as affecting the quality of life of every resident.  These are issues that unite us rather than dividing us, so let’s advocate for them together!

**Please forward this email to all of your neighbors and local acquaintances and encourage them to speak up.

**Whether or not you can make it to the meeting, please send the form letter I will be emailing to you separately.

Shani Bechhofer  

The Property Groups of New York – Slated for Unimaginable Wealth, Civic Minded? That’s for you to consider…


Slate Property Group, Mega Developments and Community Boards – Voting Down these Projects

It would take quite a lot to convince us that the major property groups involved in New York’s mega projects have anything except money and financial benefit in mind. It would take a concerted effort of conciliatory behavior and cooperation with (not only journalists) but with civic and community leaders for us to even consider that there are “civic duties and responsibilities at play”. Slate is no exception. Consider the Rivington Street fiasco that has caused the owners of Slate a considerable amount of time and money to perform “damage control” and we have a hard time accepting that this is anything more than lip service. (See the following from November 28,2016. If you click on the title, you can follow the link)

Slate Property Group Attempts Damage Control After Rivington House Mess

To the community leaders in control of the votes necessary to pass measures that would allow these projects to pass, we recommend you look carefully. Perform your due diligence. Leopards do not change their spots. And if you want to know how the future is going to look, check the past behavior of the principals. There are precious few truly altruistic property developers in New York and far too many officials willing to accept significant offers of advancement in one form or another to count on them to have a straight moral compass.

We have provided you with a multitude of links to start your research. If it leads you to believe that the men like the principals of Slate are community minded, then so be it. We believe a project like this is a clean slate towards making money for the principals and housing unaffordable. The decision is for the community.

LM, 10.15.18

Brooklyn Paper – Click here to read full article:

Split decision: Vote on Downtown tower galvanizes board before majority pans project

It’s an “aye” toward compromise.

Community Board 2’s full board last week outright rejected a developer’s request to rezone Fulton Street land in order to erect a 40-story tower — but not before the civic guru who cast the lone vote in favor of the 80 Flatbush megadevelopment when the full board voted against it earlier this year urged his colleagues to follow suit this time around, arguing doing so would at least give the panel a seat at the table for discussions should the project move forward.

Clinton Hiller Lenny Singletary, CB2’s second vice chairman, told the panel that by not flat out opposing the proposed high-rise, it may be in a better position to negotiate some changes to the project in order to make it as beneficial as possible for the community.

“In this particular case, there is nothing wrong with making our own recommendation on what we want conditions to be,” Singletary said at a Wednesday full-board meeting. “It’s not whether you are pro or against development. It’s not an all or nothing thing.

Last month, the board’s Land Use Committee panned Manhattan-based builder Slate Property Group’s application to upzone a Fulton Street plot between Rockwell Place and Flatbush Avenue in order to erect the 558-foot, mixed-use tower with 139 apartments, roughly 40 of which will be below-market-rate, and office space.

And despite Singletary’s appeal, the full board ultimately voted to pan the proposal 19 to 13 with one abstention — even after other panel members urged their colleagues to think carefully before simply saying no, noting their opposition to 80 Flatbush did little to stop Council from approving a slightly shrunken version of the five-building complex in the end.

“We as a community board have to think going forward, we can pretty much tinker around the edges ” said John Dew, who once chaired the panel. “Our job is to do what’s best for the community, not stand and stomp.”

Singletary said board members could have used their concerns about the development — which include that it offers too little affordable housing, and creates too few jobs — as ammunition to demand the builder find ways to add more below-market-rate units and employment opportunities if they voted to approve the project with conditions, instead of simply telling the firm to take a hike.

The full board, however, unanimously cast its purely advisory vote against the proposal a month later. But that did not stop Council from green-lighting the project in July , a decision that led leaders of anti-development group Preserve Our Brooklyn Neighborhoods to sue the city in an attempt to stop construction of the tower, according to the organization’s president, who said its lawyer filed an Article 78 appeal — a motion that challenges decisions made by local or state agencies — last week.

And CB2’s full board voting to reject developments outright isn’t a new phenomenon, according to the panel’s district manager, who said he couldn’t recall a single time in recent history that its members voted to approve a project with conditions.

“Nothing immediately comes to mind,” said Rob Perris.



Slate Property Group

Slate Property Group Starts Lending Arm With $500M Yearly Goal

Read more at:


BFC, Slate to Redevelop Bedford Armory Into Mixed-Use Complex