The meeting was scheduled for 7:30 at the Chestnut Ridge Middle School, but shortly after 7, the parking lots were filled, and the neighboring side streets were also filling up. An estimate of the standing-room crowd exceeded 400.
A handout circulated before the meeting by Jerry Liebelson outlined several key problems regarding the mayor and village board, insufficient code-enforcement, and the lack of a serious and transparent effort at updating the Comprehensive Plan for the village. Here’s part of Liebelson’s document:
“FAILURE OF GOVERNANCE
The Mayor, Board of Trustees and Village Attorney who appear before you today have forsaken the purpose of this village’s founding to control its development for ALL its residents. They have done nothing to comprehensively overhaul the village’s outdated laws to address the rapid and widescale changes impacting our village in the last several years. Code enforcement has been ignored for too long while rampant violations take place amidst unprecedented residential construction. The Mayor has repeatedly scoffed at the need for more enforcement; he has made statements at board meetings this year about the difficulty of getting good enforcers in Rockland County, and even declared that “hiring 15 code enforcers would make no difference.” Only after months of pushback by concerned residents, and finally with the resignation of the village’s single, very experienced knowledgeable code enforcer who wanted but was denied full-time employment, was the mayor forced to act.
The building inspector (who was appointed without prior experience or certification) has been approving plans and permits for significant and problematic construction that should have been reviewed by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals. It required the concerted actions by residents to intervene, complain, and file expensive legal action to expose and address these problems.”
Liebelson’s document goes on to compare the deliberate, open process of updating the Comprehensive Plan in neighboring Airmont and the absence of the same in Chestnut Ridge, which has “no well-considered plan, just outdated Town of Ramapo laws from the 1986 incorporation, amended over the years.”
Click here for the Channel 12 coverage of the meeting.