“A federal judge released his findings Thursday that parts of Pomona’s zoning code are discriminatory and would limit the rights of Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov to build a dormitory school along Routes 202 and 306.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas’s 112-page decision opens the door for Tartikov to apply for a special permit and submit site plans that are not subject to specific zoning code provisions. Those include regulations on dormitories, schools and wetlands.
Tartikov’s 2007 legal action contended Pomona’s unreasonable land-use regulations and intentional conduct prohibited the congregation from building a rabbinical college on about 130 acres, across from the proposed Patrick Farm housing project.
After a non-jury trial at the White Plains federal courthouse in the spring, Karas found Tartikov established that aspects of village zoning violated the First and 14th Amendments of the Constitution, provisions of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalize Persons Act of 2000, known as RLUIPA, the New York state Constitution and the Fair Housing Act.
Karas gave Tartikov 30 days to submit a proposed judgment against Pomona. The village would then have 15 days to respond
Karas found the village defense of its laws lacking, and that Tartikov’s attorneys showed certain aspects of the zoning were “enacted for an improper, discriminatory purpose” and therefore invalid.
“The defendants construct an interesting theory, for that is all that it is,” Karas said. “They have no evidence to back it up. In any event, none this theorizing changes in any way the overwhelming evidence of discriminatory animus, or (the) fact this law served no compelling interest.”
Karas found no “evidence that the zoning scheme itself was enacted for an improper purpose.”
The judge also found the zoning came to light during Ramapo’s approval of nearly 500 housing units at Patrick Farm and its approval for an adult student housing zone.”
Read complete Journal News coverage here.