Large Rockland development project suffers setback in court

Citizens group claims Ramapo project creates segregated housing

Tri-State /
Sep.September 20, 2021 09:00 AM
An aerial of the Rockland development project (Google Maps)

An aerial of the Rockland development project (Google Maps)

An ongoing legal fight between a citizens group in Rockland County and the town of Ramapo has been given life after a judge refused to dismiss a legal action from the Citizens United to Protect Our Neighborhood of Hillcrest.

Supreme Court Judge Paul Marx ruled on Wednesday the legal challenge levied against the Ramapo Town Board can continue. Both sides of the protracted legal fight have until October 27 to respond to the decision, according to LoHud.

Developer Alex Goldberger, the owner of Money Lumber, proposed a 224-unit, high-density development across 30 acres at the border of Spring Valley and Clarkstown. The Ramapo Town Board last year approved a request to rezone to allow for double the amount of housing previously permitted, which CUPON aims to annul.

CUPON contends that the development would create segregated housing. The group also says spot zoning in the area benefits the developer, there isn’t enough affordable housing and various laws are being violated.

The judge rejected the spot zoning claim in his decision.

The segregated housing concern relates to the town’s growing Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities. Opponents don’t want the development to cater exclusively to the religious residents, especially since it’s located in a diverse area.

Goldberger’s plan aims to build 32 three-story townhouses in the area. Two-bedroom, three-bedroom and even six-bedroom units are among the concepts included in the developer’s plans.

In its initial legal action, CUPON claimed the development didn’t have any affordable housing, which would ostensibly provide a reason for high-density rezoning. The group also claimed the State Environmental Quality Review Act was violated, accusing the town board of excluding environmental agency oversight on a development site with steep slopes and a history of local flooding.

The developer’s attorneys claimed CUPON and other residents involved in the legal action lacked the standing to contest the rezoning, claiming they didn’t live close enough and were not harmed by the development.

[LoHud] — Holden Walter-Warner





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