The GOP Bowing to Pressures of Agudath Yisroel and Major Fundraisers – Not About Religion, About Over-Development

This is a Land Use Issue. It Always Has Been. Any Other Characterization is a Strategic Misrepresentation.

Dear Readers:

This blogger has been accused of being a liberal, a self-hating Jew and an anti-Semite. If I am to be judged by those who choose to bully and use the judicial system as a constant weapon, shove the mantra of anti-Semitism down everyone’s throats and toss integrity to the wind, then I will take whatever insults someone wants to sling my way.

A more recent accusation was that I am an idealist too. Yeah… true enough. It would be nice if money was not the currency of darkness, if honest opinions and speech was not chilled by hundreds of thousands of dollars; and if truth and transparency were the goals for which we all strive.

But that is just not happening. It was a lofty goal when this blog was started.

Four years later, the insults sometimes feel more like compliments when the judgments come from those whose moral compass sits far askew from my own.

This piece is focused on over development and the misapplication of laws, the manipulation of a system by those who want to use anti-Semitism to justify any mode of behavior and the resulting tragedy for everyone.

Zoning in Jackson Township, New Jersey should never have invited the chorus of the “anti-Semitism” choir. It should not have attracted big money donors and Agudath Yisroel who want to chalk everything up to anti-Semitism to allow their own to act with impunity. Codes and laws should be enforced equally across the board. The laws passed were intended to foster responsible development and maintain a quality of life within a specific landscape, not to chase out religion. That ultra-Orthodox Jews were and continue to be the most affected by those laws is a function of sheer numbers and statistics, not a generalized hatred.

I have said repeatedly that the Holocaust should not have given us a sharper spear to toss when things don’t go our way. Using it as such demoralizes everyone who perished during the Holocaust, and only increases an “us versus them mentality” which ultimately intensifies hostility. It is a dangerous game to play. And so it begins.   

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Irresponsible Zoning and the Path to a Never-ending Stream of Lawsuits… Not Raging Anti-Semites!

The Zoning Boards Ruled Against Jackson Trails, New Jersey, an Irresponsible Project. Denied. More Courts Will Rule. This is Not About Anti-Semitism. This is About Irresponsible Zoning.

Jackson Trails, a project applied for in Jackson Township, New Jersey, was not viewed as an exclusive Orthodox Community, until it was. But in that context, it should not be allowed. Since when can we demand segregated communities in the United States? Since when is fighting segregation labeled as racism? Until it is. The people of Jackson Township want to live together in harmony in a township that is responsibly zoned. They want their wildlife. They want their trees. They want their piece of suburbia. They do not want New York City, Newark, or any other Urban area thrust upon them.

And the diverse group of people in Jackson Township, New Jersey should be able to fight against an unwanted outcome without being deemed to be a group of raging anti-Semites. That label is being used as a sword and in that use, is raising hostility immeasurably.

But, anti-Semitism as a sword is going to Federal Court on the grounds of discrimination. The fight boils down to whether an irresponsible project should be allowed to be built, to the exclusion of the wants of an entire community, on the basis that by not allowing it, we are violating the rights of Orthodox Jews. But what right should they really have? Should any group have the right to build a segregated community – and then use as the argument against inclusiveness – anti-Semitism. That’s an endless and absurd loop that creates a very, very slippery slope. 

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Irresponsible Development, Re-Segregation, CUPON, Skewed Zoning – Who is Funding Rockland’s Politicians?

Exclusionary and Skewed Zoning or Anti-Semitism? And, Why are Tensions Heightened? – Take 2

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’.”

So who runs the Town of Ramapo?

Who is paying to pull the puppet strings?

Who is being paid off?

They call it “taking bread” in Ramapo.

Where is the Rockland County News Media?

Where is Rockland County’s District Attorney?

Where is the State Government?

Where are the Feds?

Where is the outrage?

 

Blatant anti-Semitism or Skewed Enforcement of Zoning Laws – Airmont, NY [video]

Clarkstown – What They Don’t Want You To Know

What Is Going On Along Hillside Avenue?

Zombie Houses, Headless Chickens, And Mikvahs!

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.

 

Land Use and Shuls Hot Topics to Focus on For Upcoming Elections – Toms River, NJ

Land Use and Shuls Front and Center in Toms River Election

A recent Asbury Park Press article highlighted the prominent place that issues surrounding Toms River’s Orthodox population have taken in its local elections set to be held this November.

Most prominent is a proposed zoning change that would significantly reduce the amount of acreage needed to build a house of worship. The 10 acre requirement, has stymied the development of shuls in the North Dover area which is home to several hundred Orthodox families.

The proposal was released last month, but was quickly pulled from the agenda by retiring Town Council President, George Wittman Jr. He and Council Vice President Maurice “Mo” Hill said they would not support the change. Yet, later, Mr. Hill, a Republican, said that he would approve it if it would satisfy federal authorities who are presently investigating the town’s land use laws amid accusations of bias.

Mr. Hill’s Democratic rival, Jonathan Petro, has increasingly seized on the issue, in attempt to paint his opponent as sympathetic to the needs of the Orthodox community. Mr. Hill has vehemently denied that he has been influenced by any special interests.

Toms River is one of the state’s largest Republican strongholds, but in 2017 elections three Democrats won seats on its council largely with rhetoric criticizing what they portrayed as the council’s accommodation of the Orthodox community’s growth. Some of their campaign literature was criticized as anti-Semitic. One of the group’s most outspoken members, Daniel Roderick, who was recently censured by his fellow council members, re-registered as a Republican shortly after the election.

 

ADDITIONAL READING:

https://www.app.c

Asbury Park Press
Toms River election: Growing Orthodox Jewish population is campaign issue again
Toms River election: Growing Orthodox Jewish population is campaign issue again ….. TOMS RIVER – A simmering dispute over zoning for houses of …. in the 2017 campaign that used “Lakewood” and “Lakewood-style …
1 day ago

 

Controversy Over Proposed Zoning Changes For Houses of Worship in Toms River

LAKEWOOD –

A last-minute move to pull a zoning change that would have eased stiff restrictions on building houses of worship in Toms River boiled over into a public squabble among the township’s Council members.

Township documents reveal that under pressure from the federal Department of Justice (DOJ), the Council had acquiesced to amend an ordinance that required a 10-acre lot in order to build a house of worship, along with a set of related bylaws that have stood in the way of applications from both shuls and mosques in the past.

Yet, last week, when changes appeared on the agenda of a Land Use Committee hearing, they were suddenly pulled. Council President George Wittmann and Council Vice President Maurice “Mo” Hill both questioned how the amendments had found their way to meeting and stated that they would oppose such moves.

Shortly after the Council leaders’ statements appeared in the Asbury Park Press, Councilwoman Laurie Huryk called them out in a press release.

“Council President Wittmann knows exactly how the zoning changes ended up on the Land Use Committee agenda; the Township had committed to the Department of Justice that Toms River would be brought into compliance with Federal Law this year,” she said. “These corrective actions had been discussed many times, and needed to be enacted in a timely manner in order to save the taxpayers of Toms River untoward fines and penalties resulting from the current Federal Investigation.”

Neither Council President Wittmann nor Vice President Hill returned requests for comment from Hamodia.

The DOJ initially opened an investigation of Tom River’s land use regulations vis-à-vis religious organizations in 2016. At the time, a lawsuit was before the courts from the town’s Chabad house, which claimed restrictions on its operation were motivated by a spillover of efforts to block an influx of Orthodox Jews to the town’s North Dover section, which borders Lakewood.

Chabad won the suit and the investigation was closed in April 2018. However, according to a township report on land use rules affecting houses of worship, in December of that year the DOJ announced it was reopening investigations.

Months earlier, the township hired Marci Hamilton, a legal expert specializing in religious land use and a well-known advocate against the expansion of rights for faith groups to advise the Council.

Over the past four years, Mrs. Hamilton’s clients have suffered a string of losses in clashes with Orthodox groups, including attempts to stymie construction of a new Chabad center in Boca Raton, an eruv in Westhampton Beach, Long Island, and a kollel and affiliated housing in Pomona, New York.

The Council, Mrs. Hamilton, and other township officials met with both the DOJ and on at least one occasion with representatives of Toms River’s Orthodox community to appraise the legal viability of its ordinances. The result was an agreement to several changes, most notably a reduction from 10 to seven acres in order to build a house of worship. According to media reports, a clause was also accepted that would lower that to two acres in North Dover, but this is absent from the released documents.

To continue reading click here.

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 lohud.com news website reported.

To read the article in its entirety click here.