Despite Airmont’s Best Efforts at Enforcing Building and Zoning Laws Equally, Central UTA of Monsey Continues to Confound
The Village of Airmont Board is hard at work enforcing laws and regulations equally and fairly for all residents which has become an important issue in light of the rampant corruption in the Town of Ramapo and the blatant disregard for building and zoning laws. Airmont however faces an uphill battle when applicants try to make up and adhere to their own rules.
Central United Talmud Academy of Monsey’s plan to build a 2,000 student Yeshiva on the properties located at 212 Cherry Lane and 236 Cherry Lane has more twists and turns than a Hollywood thriller as they face two $5,000/day violations. And to make matters worse, the clock has been ticking since May 9th, 2017.
The property at 212 Cherry Lane has a Certificate of Occupancy for 167 students. The property at 236 Cherry Lane was granted a Certificate of Occupancy in 2005 for a pool that had been installed however a search of Village of Airmont records revealed that this parcel does not have a Certificate of Occupancy for a school and never has.
Central UTA-Monsey claims that the Village of Airmont has issued a Certificate of Occupancy for 236 Cherry Lane in the past but that the Village’s record keeping is so poor that Airmont is unable to find it.
Curiously enough, records show that Central UTA-Monsey submitted several Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL) requests prior to purchasing both properties and therefore knows that a Certificate of Occupancy was never issued for 236 Cherry Lane or perhaps is attempting to muddy the waters. In the event that they can prove that a Certificate of Occupancy was indeed issued for 236 Cherry Lane, one would assume that they would produce evidence of said certificate and proceed from there.
But wait… there’s more, and it seems as if there always is.
As previously mentioned, Central UTA-Monsey is facing $5,000/day fines times two dating back to May ninth. Essentially the property owner is in violation for exceeding the 167 student number allowed by the Certificate of Occupancy for 212 Cherry Lane and is in violation because there is no Certificate of Occupancy for a school at all at 236 Cherry Lane. According to the code violations, on May 9th “The owner/representative admitted at a May 9, 2017 Community Design Review Committee (CDRC) meeting to operating a school for 200 to 300 students. 236 Cherry Lane does not have a Certificate of Occupancy to operate a school for 200 to 300 students.”
Central UTA-Monsey has stated that they would like to go as high as 450 students on the site before the 2,000 student Yeshiva is built which would be considered illegal segmentation under New York State law. In their original application, they also stated that the students attending the school would be coming from within the Suffern Central School District meaning that the District would legally be required to provide busing. According the SCSD officials, the district provides ‘very little’ busing meaning that the majority of the students are coming from outside the district.
A resident living in close proximity to the former Camp Regesh property claims that there are already between 300 and 400 students attending school on the properties.
As of today, 136 days have passed so the potential fine has now grown to $1,360,000 and continues to grow at a rate of up to $10,000/day.
Central UTA-Monsey submitted their application prior to the Village of Airmont building moratorium went into effect however according to documents we FOIL’d, they have only submitted informal plans, have yet to submit a usable plan and the plans submitted didn’t have the required parking.
Based upon the violations and where their application currently resides in the whole approval process, Central UTA-Monsey would have to pull their current application and reapply which would of course subject them to the building moratorium which they attempted to avoid by forcing the cancellation of a number of meetings that delayed the moratorium from going into effect in the first place so that they could submit their application.
Central UTA-Monsey is now trying a different tactic in order to avoid pulling their CDRD application; they are now going to the Village of Airmont Zoning Board to appeal the building inspector’s decision to issue violations in the first place. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t appear as if there has been a successful appeal granted by the Zoning Board overturning the Building Inspector in at least 20 years.
Central UTA-Monsey is scheduled to be in Airmont Village Court on October 5th at 5:00pm. The appeal to the zoning board would delay their day in court and if they don’t prevail, their project will be delayed and they will be subjected to the building moratorium in Airmont.
There are some who feel that constant confusion is part of the organization’s modus operandi while others are convinced that Central UTA-Monsey is patiently waiting to elect a more sympathetic village board which in turn appoints the members of the zoning board. A favorable zoning board could in theory simply rubber stamp the applications along the lines of the alleged abuses that have disenfranchised so many in Ramapo.
We will continue to watch and report on the twists and turns that this and other questionable applications take.