“A private elementary school for girls on the grounds of the former Edwin Gould property opened last month without permits and is not in compliance with zoning and fire code regulations, according to village officials. [Read more…]
On Sunday, The Journal News devoted its entire front section to an examination of the accelerating, crushing growth in the Town of Ramapo. The cautionary lead on the front page was followed by six feature articles in section one, all dealing with the growing crisis in a town with uncontrolled development, a collapsing tax base, and top-level administrators busy working on their legal defenses against scores of federal charges. The dry rot resulting from endemic political corruption threatens the entire community.
The six features in section one are divided by six separate themes:
“It’s Ramapo’s lack of zoning and safety code enforcement, not religion, that has encouraged development chaos and divided the town. [Read more…]
Peter Katz has become the first Ramapo resident to take the town to court for permitting the conversion of a single-family house into a school without approved site plans and other permits.
Katz argues in his legal action that Chief Building Inspector Anthony Mallia arbitrarily issued a temporary building permit for Congregation Yeshiva Zera Yakov to open a school at 101 Carlton Road and the Ramapo Zoning Board of Appeals incorrectly upheld Mallia’s decision as valid under town zoning law. [Read more…]
The headline in last Monday’s The Journal News read “Ramapo: State’s powers over building, fire inspections detailed.” Ramapo and Spring Valley now have State watchdogs “assigned to monitor the Ramapo Building Department [with] access to department records and [the power to] direct inspectors to address critical threats to life and public safety.” A proper subhead for the story could have been: “It’s about time.” The effort by local firefighters to get someone to step in and enforce the fire code regulations in the Town of Ramapo has been going on, literally, for decades. Standing in the way have been the federally indicted Christopher St. Lawrence, the Ramapo Town Board, and the bloc vote that keeps all of them in Town Hall.
To understand this sorry legacy of neglect requires a brief review of the history of tension between fire officials and numerous Ramapo and State politicians. [Read more…]
“The state is appointing monitors with investigative authority to oversee the building departments in Ramapo and Spring Valley after years of fielding complaints from officials and first responders about the potentially dangerous lack of fire safety and zoning enforcement in those communities.
The state acted after several years of pressure from Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and the Rockland Illegal Housing Task Force leaders. They have called for the state to potentially take over the inspection duties in Ramapo and Spring Valley.
The monitors will be assigned because the communities have not done enough to comply with state regulations, state Department of State spokesman Laz Benitiz said Monday. [Read more…]
The case is tied to pending charges against village Building Inspector Walter Booker.
“A 48-year-old businessman has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $30,000 from Ramapo through a tax-exemption scam tied to the ongoing prosecution of Spring Valley’s chief building inspector.
Jacob Goldman will repay $33,000 to Ramapo as part of his guilty plea to three misdemeanor counts of second-degree offering a false instrument for filing, Rockland County prosecutor Richard Kennison Moran said.
Goldman faces three years probation at his scheduled Feb. 28 sentencing by Rockland County Judge David Zuckerman. [Read more…]
“On Dec. 1, 1958, a school fire in Chicago killed 92 children and three nuns who were teachers in the Our Lady of the Angels school. While the two-story brick building looked safe from the outside, the interior wood design with only one fire escape had no sprinklers, no automatic fire alarm, no smoke or heat detectors, no alarm connected to the fire department, no fire-resistant stairwells and no fire-safe doors from the stairwells to the second floor.
Other than that, it complied with a fire department safety inspection only weeks before the fire, because the school did not have to comply with all fire safety guidelines. Due to a grandfathering clause in the 1949 standards, existing schools were not required to retrofit the safety devices that were required in all newly constructed schools. In the only positive outcome of the tragedy, sweeping changes in school fire safety regulations were enacted nationwide, no doubt saving countless lives in subsequent years. [Read more…]
Click here for the NBC news investigation.
“The builder of Viola Estates stealthily built space for illegal accessory apartments in the basements and upper floors of townhouses contrary to site plans approved by the Ramapo Planning Board, an attorney for neighbors told a judge on Thursday.
The neighbors want the judge to close down construction of the 44-home development after they say an on-site inspection report they commissioned found unapproved space for accessory apartments, evidenced by separate multiple plumbing, gas and electrical systems, separate water heaters and boilers. [Read more…]
The representatives of Parkview Condominiums in Spring Valley are threatening a lawsuit after the building inspector ordered removal of religious baths and synagogue.
“A condominium development has threatened to bring a federal civil rights lawsuit against the village over its order to remove religious baths and a house of worship from the Main Street housing complex.
Chief Building Inspector Walter Booker said in June that the owners of Park View had violated their village-approved site plan, and that the owners installed the baths and built the synagogue without permits. [Read more…]