JACKSON – The developer who proposed building 459 units of housing on South Hope Chapel Road has sued the township and its Planning Board, claiming the plan was rejected because of a “rising tide of anti-Semitism in the township.”
“The board denied the application, bowing to severe anti-Semitic pressure from local residents and fears that Orthodox Jews may purchase homes and reside in the development,” the lawsuit states, “and due to the inclusion in the development of a house of worship that may be used as a synagogue by Orthodox Jews.”
Here We Go Again …. What Is Creating Anger And Resentment In Rockland County?
‘Citizens United To Protect Our Neighborhoods’ Reports That On January 30th The Ramapo Planning Board Moved Again In Favor Of Irresponsible Development By Builders Constructing Ultra-Orthodox Segregated Housing.
The Hillcrest Bluefield Extension resubmission was approved by the Ramapo Zoning Board which according to several speakers on WRCR Radio this morning is now 100% controlled by members of a single community. One newly appointed member was referred to by Rabbi Schwartz as just another Ramapo puppet.
Micheal Miller, leader of CUPON Rockland reports …..
“The Zoning Board of Appeals voted to override EVERY item in the County’s General Municipal Law (GML), and approved the Bluefield Extension application.
As usual, they exhibited bias in favor of the builder, and they refused to allow the judge’s ruling that overturned approval of the first application to be entered into the record.
This application has some of the same mistakes as the prior one. We will be meeting with the attorneys, other authorities, and supporters to determine what our go-forward plan will be.
We appreciate the CUPON members that came out and supported us tonight.”
[Below is a video from Lohud that will remind our readers of the details of this particular example of irresponsible development.]
CUPON Mahwah (Citizens United to Preserve Our Neighborhoods) Addressed The Village of Airmont’s Elected Officials On Monday, February 3rd, 2020.
Taking Bread And Tracking Ghosts In Airmont.
The Irish-Catholics Have Owned Pearl River For Long Enough – It’s Time For Them To Move.
[Post updated 9:30 a.m.]
Hillside Avenue is the latest victim of Rockland County’s long list of bad behavior and irresponsible development projects.
In the video below Heather Federico and others followed up on their request for action at the Village of Airmont’s Board Meeting in December 2019. They is what they learned. But first a question for the Deputy Mayor: Did you pay your taxes? If not don’t ask us to pay ours!
CUPON Mahwah’s member Heather Federico begins with a simple question …..
“Have you done anything since the last meeting?”
Nothing has been done by Airmont’s elected officials about the situation in Hillside Avenue including the zombie house and headless chickens.
“This board has a chance to do something – you have done nothing”.
“Chicken heads left on people’s driveways”.
“I got the Ramapo police reports – here’s the chicken picture.”
“Not allowed by who? … you have had a whole month! …. I am told every report is “unfounded”, “unfounded”. I have stacks of them.”
“Do you understand? .. You have had lots of time .. I’m looking at a bunch of blank faces”.
“Have you filed reports?”
“We were on NBC News! We are up for an Emmy!”
“Did any of you attend the Five Towns Supervisors Meeting on Combating Hatred?”
Nope …. If they had they might have found out that what is happening in Hillside Avenue has nothing do with hatred from the goyim.
“One thing you need to do is to enforce your codes”.
Does the board know that there are things moving in the cemetery at night and they aren’t ghosts?
How does government work? Is there a process?
More blank stares ….
“Honestly? We don’t know”.
“I suggest you talk to Supervisor Specht or send an email to the Village Clerk”.
Why is one board colleague smiling? …. Let’s gently inquire.
If you are an accused anti-Semite in Airmont you will be asked to take down your American Flag. This American tells his local government what he will and will not do about the flag.
“I’m the outcast. Garbage is thrown in my yard. Why should I have to move?”
“I am told that the rules to not apply to me. It’s time for ME to leave. I am told WE are going to be like Kiryas Joel”.
“Rockland County is at the point where it should be separated in half. The laws should apply to all.”
“I should never be told to take down my American Flag. That is where hate comes from”.
“The Irish Catholics in Pearl River have been told they have ‘owned’ Pearl River long enough and it’s time for them too to move”.
A Ramapo Code Enforcement Officer can’t do his job because he would be fired?
“The Ramapo Building Department gave me the number to call. The officer told me he knows what is going on. ‘There’s a business there and they have threatened me’, he said. ‘They said if I don’t stop harassing them I will lose my job’.”
CUPON Mahwah (Citizens United to Preserve Our Neighborhoods) To Address The Village of Airmont’s Elected Officials On This Situation At 7:00 pm On Monday, February 3rd, 251 Cherry Lane, Airmont NY 10901.
Picture this: a peaceful, wooded stretch of land that offers respite from suburbia; a mixed community that lives there in harmony; good neighbors who lend a hand when needed while raising their families; extensive woodlands that supports wild animals; clear streams crisscrossing the area draining into a wetland that supports a host of creatures.
Into this picture comes some who begin to harass the long-term residents, hoping to get them to move out. Illegal blockbusting tactics mean residents are bombarded with unsolicited offers to buy their properties. Unidentified strangers park and turn around in residents’ driveways; one reverses into a parked car; one knocks over a mailbox and drives away; a headless chicken appears in the driveway of a resident who makes it clear to those who make the “offers” he intends to stay put.
OK, it’s not a horse’s head in someone’s bed and maybe the chicken just lost its head on a stroll about the neighborhood, but the message appears to be clear. The chickens want you to leave. This situation should make a local government, were it not ‘chicken’, to take immediate corrective action, right? Aren’t there laws to stop this sort of thing?
Yes, there are—but when the laws are ignored and the local politicians lack the will to enforce them, the situation continues to deteriorate and eventually you end up with Zombie houses to destroy your property values.
This is a story of a municipality that has a contract with its citizens to protect their properties and their happiness by enforcing the laws that civil society has instituted. But it has chickened out on the terms of that civil contract.
Is this happening in your neighborhood? It’s happening right now on your doorstep! Soon you too can have a zombie house in your neighborhood if you accept the mantra that your anger and resentment is really just blatant anti-Semitism and that instead of protecting your rights you need to attend seminars to control your hatred and have your children re-educated about the need to accept zombieism.
Hillside Avenue is the latest victim of Rockland County’s long list of irresponsible development projects. In the video below Heather Federico of Mahwah CUPON discusses the actions of owners and developers and indicates that there has been little resistance from the county government in Rockland County, the Town of Ramapo or the Village of Airmont. Indeed true to form the town of Ramapo refuses to turn over documentation about its own perfidy while its $400,000 compensated police chief continues to lose control over policing in a huge swath of Rockland County.
In the video we see that on December 16, 2019 CUPON addressed the Airmont Board of Trustees to ask why no action has been taken to address the numerous violations of village code and complaints made to the police about properties owned by two developers that are named by CUPON Mahwah. It appears that prima facia evidence has been obtained many laws are being flouted.
Here are a few headlines:
2, Hillside Ave, Village of Airmont The structure at this address has had no Certificate of Occupancy since 2017. The load-bearing walls are at risk of collapse. Yet it is being used on a regular basis as a house of gathering and a weekend retreat. There is no permanent resident at the address but someone is operating a farm there which includes 2 horses, several goats and chickens — all illegal without a permanent resident. Last summer, a carnival was set up under cover of night presumably to avoid drawing the attention of local authorities.
28 and 32 Hillside Ave, Village of Airmont This was a beautiful farmhouse; the developers allegedly converted it illegally into a 3-4 story dwelling. In 2017, work stopped and the building now stands as a giant unfinished ‘box’ — in essence it is now an abandoned zombie house.
There is trash and debris around the property. This situation has been reported to the village and the health department several times, but no action has been taken.
A circular driveway was allegedly illegally installed for which the developer was issued a $64,000 ticket which was then dismissed on a technicality. The village of Airmont has not re-issued the ticket. The driveway is still there, being used improperly by school buses and construction traffic.
44 Hillside Ave, Village of Airmont 19 acres have been notably 100 percent tax-exempt for over 20 years; the village has not pursued the taxes that should be payable on this large plot of land.
77, 79 and 85 Hillside Ave, Town of Ramapo At this location a very large development is proposed namely a mikvah (ritual bath) with 60 parking spaces, a caretaker’s home, a large structure to hold several baths and 53 showerheads. Clear-cutting of old-growth trees has begun.
98 and 100 Hillside Ave and 99 Oratam Rd, Village of Airmont: Another very large development is proposed: a special needs school for 100 students, with at least 60 parking spaces and a large driveway to pick up and drop off students. This location remains 100 percent tax-exempt after an application in 2013 for a school that never materialized.
In summary, Hillside Ave is in a residential neighborhood of one-acre plots with no commercial buildings. These large, commercial projects will completely alter the character of the neighborhood and negatively affect the health and safety of local residents. Hillside Ave is an RR-50 zoning with no other commercial businesses on the block. It has no water line, no sidewalks and has a one car bridge with a 3-ton weight limit and at capacity for the traffic it can handle.
On Monday evening, February 3, 2020 CUPON Mahwah will once again raise these issues to the Village of Airmont’s elected officials. The meeting will be held at 251 Cherry Lane, Airmont, NY 10901
To see the article on FB in its original format, click here.
RAMAPO – A year ago, a grassroots group called CUPON was formed by a Hillcrest resident who saw an urgent need to keep the area’s development in check.
Since then, that group has helped a handful of similar organizations spring up around Ramapo, a town with a long history of civic activism. They all share concerns similar to CUPON’s, which stands for Citizens United to Protect Our Neighborhoods.
“What we wanted to do is, instead of having a big CUPON for Ramapo, we wanted an individual area to have its own CUPON-like organization,” said Micheal Miller, who started the group in Hillcrest and has subsequently helped organize other neighborhoods. “Then, if you go to a (municipal board) meeting, you’re going to be representatives of your area,” he said. “That carries much more weight than if we go as one organization.”
Ramapo is Rockland County’s fastest-growing town, home to an estimated 126,595 people with 12 villages. In recent months, new groups focused on controlling development have formed in such areas as Monsey, New Hempstead, Airmont and Chestnut Ridge.
“The goal is to empower the other members of the community,” said Hilda Kogut, who launched CUPON Chestnut Ridge this spring, noting that many of her fellow villagers have begun speaking up at village meetings about their concerns. “We’re making some progress.”
What activists are up against is substantial: More than 3,000 homes are proposed or could be proposed for large pieces of land that changed hands in recent years, according to Miller, who compiled the information based on property sale records and other sources. In addition to the 197-acre property in the Route 202-306 corridor just outside of Pomona where the controversial 479-unit Patrick Farm development was proposed, the list of parcels include the 130-acre Minisceongo Golf Club property on Pomona Road and the 145-acre former Edwin Gould Academy site in Chestnut Ridge.
Based on ongoing trends, those properties could potentially be developed into higher-density housing catering to Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox Jewish families from outside the county, Miller said.
“They are bringing in Brooklyn to Ramapo,” Miller said. “It’s going to become an extension of New York City.”
Orthodox Jews share concern
Tension between religious and non-religious communities has been on the rise in Rockland for the past several years, fueled by strained relations between members of the East Ramapo school community and its school board, which is controlled by Orthodox Jewish residents who send their children to private schools.
But over-development is a shared concern in her Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, said Shani Bechhofer of Monsey, who has lived in a community called Viola Estates for more than a decade. A major housing development, also called Viola Estates, is under construction on a nearby 5.5-acre property on Viola Road, even though Bechhofer and her neighbors expressed their opposition before the Ramapo Planning Board, she said.
They formed a grassroots organization, Viola Estates Residents Allied for Integrity, which is also being assisted by Miller.
“The more we were educated, the more we began to understand the issues that are affecting us, not just this development,” Bechhofer said. “That’s why we named our organization ‘Allied for Integrity.'”
Bechhofer said she was “disheartened” by the town’s response when she and her neighbors reported to officials that more units than planned were being built there. The property, formerly owned by Temple Beth El, was originally zoned for single-family homes allowing 1.74 units per acre, or a total 10 units for the site. In July 2013, the developer was granted a zone change to allow for eight units per acre, or 44 units on 5.5 acres.
As construction moved along, neighbors saw that the basements in each unit had been turned into what they saw as accessory apartments, according to a letter they sent to the town. Ramapo officials acknowledged the work done was not according to the plans but, instead of requiring the developer to follow the existing plans, officials approved revised plans that included a “finished lower level.”
In June, three neighbors sued Ramapo town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, Building Inspector Anthony Mallia and Viola Gardens LLC., the owner of the property, over the issue. Town Attorney Michael Klein has told The Journal News the lawsuit lacks merit. Attorney Steven Mogel, who was recently retained by the neighbors, said Friday that the lawsuit, filed in Putnam County Court to avoid any potential conflict in Rockland County Court, was expected to be discontinued because of procedural issues, but “it doesn’t mean that the efforts that the neighbors have engaged in are over.”
Miller, for his part, has been leading the effort to stop a 20-unit housing development, Bluefield Extension, on the 1-acre site on the east side of Union Road in Hillcrest, along the Monsey border. The property was originally zoned for single-family homes.
“This would set a precedent,” Miller said. “If they are allowed to build that, they can come into Hillcrest and do the same thing where they want to.”
From 2000 to 2010, Ramapo’s total population grew by 16.2 percent, while the statewide population grew 2.1 percent and the county’s grew 8.7 percent. The biggest increases within Ramapo were seen in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish villages of New Square and Kaser, which grew by 50.2 percent and 42.5 percent, respectively. Montebello village saw a 22.7 percent increase, and unincorporated Ramapo, including Monsey and Hillcrest, grew by 20.9 percent.
In addition to over-development, community activists keep an eye on issues such as illegal conversions of homes, zoning and code violations, and so-called “blockbusting,” the practice of persuading homeowners to sell their property cheaply by suggesting that changes in neighborhood demographics will destroy their property values.
“Some of the villages and areas are going through all of those issues, while others are going through only some of them,” Miller said. “But, eventually, every one of them is going to affect every area.”
Leaders of the newly formed community groups say they want town officials to stop “spot zoning” — which they think has become too common — to accommodate high-density housing development. They also want officials to enforce zoning codes more stringently.
Kogut, a retired FBI special agent who moved to Rockland decades ago as a child, said she doesn’t want her community to be overcrowded.
“If we were constructing homes for people in this county who had no place to live, I would not have been so offended,” she said.
Klein, the town attorney, said the town is trying meet the needs of different groups, the largest town in New York state outside of several on Long Island.
“We have many groups in the town who criticize us for not providing enough housing and enough development. We have other groups in the community that criticize us for providing too much development. So it’s a difficult balance that the Town Board needs to strike between what is appropriate, manageable development, and what might not be,” he said. “While I understand people have different views, particularly where it affects their immediate community, many people have different opinions on what’s appropriate development and what’s not.”