The Sarah Wallace investigation of the continuing illegal housing and political corruption in Ramapo and Spring Valley can be seen here. (Scroll down on the index page–NBC video is on the left side.)
“With the village Building Department and inspection program being monitored by New York state for ineffectiveness, Mayor Alan Simon has dismissed the village fire inspector just before his six-month probationary period was set to expire this month.
The village hired John Zajac, a longtime West Haverstraw fire chief, in July as a full-time fire inspector to succeed the retired Raymond Guarnuccio, a former Spring Valley fire chief. Zajac was paid about $47,000. [Read more…]
“A pair of Rockland County’s state representatives on Monday urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill into law that would force inspectors to comply with code enforcement guidelines or face losing their credentials.
State Sen. David Carlucci and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski introduced the bill, which would allow the state Department of State to revoke a code enforcement officer’s certificate on grounds of misconduct. [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…]
Click here for the NBC news investigation.
“Firefighters removed boxes that were blocking an entryway as they battled an apartment building fire at 18 Calvert Drive that is being used as a warehouse July 18, 2016, in Monsey. Firefighters from Hillcrest, Spring Valley, Tallman, Thiells, Suffern and New City responded to assist Monsey.”
You can read Steve Lieberman’s full coverage of the fire, the violations registered and consequences going forward here.
Video coverage can be viewed here.
“Mesivta Ahavas Hatorah has been operating a boys’ religious school in the village since about 2013.
But it has been running without permits because the property at 720 Union Road never received permits, or a certificate of occupancy, to operate as a school — nor did the previous tenants who also had schools there since about 2006, according to village documents. [Read more…]
“SPRING VALLEY – A townhouse development already under investigation now faces local violations for allegedly adding a school and place of worship.
Spring Valley Chief Building Inspector Walter Booker said Thursday that the school and synagogue violate the approved site plan for the three-story stone buildings at Main Street and Maple Avenue known as the Park View Condominiums. They were built as part of the village’s downtown urban renewal. [Read more…]
“For the second time in two years, two of Rockland’s state legislators have withdrawn a retroactive tax exemption for a Ramapo yeshiva under pressure from firefighters and other advocates for safe buildings.
Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, D-Suffern, and Sen. David Carlucci, D-New City, had submitted a proposal to give a tax exemption to Congregation Divrei Chaim for the tax years 2013 and 2014 that would have been worth $30,000. [Read more…]