“The developer who wants to put up 600 housing units off Route 59 is eager to convince the public that his complex is intended to satisfy more than the needs of Rockland’s rapidly growing Orthodox Jewish population.
But that will be a hard sell for some leaders in this diverse community along the Ramapo-Spring Valley border, who are dubious about claims the complex would become integrated.”
Ryan Karben, an attorney for the developer “said doubters needed to move past preconceived notions.” He probably also should have asked everyone to disregard the lessons taught by the large Elm Street housing project built by St. Lawrence’s RLDC, and numerous high-density projects in Spring Valley, all of which boast quite homogeneous demographics.
The 600-unit project is enormous, and it’s to be dropped right in the center of gridlocked Monsey (on the site of the old drive-in theater on 59). The Journal News breaks down the 36 proposed structures as:
One six-floor building with 25,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor topped by five floors with a total of 140 one- and two-bedroom rental units.
Two six-floor apartment buildings with a total of 210 rental units.
Five condominium buildings with courtyards, each one three floors with loft space, containing a total of 160 units. The condos would be three- to four-bedroom units.
30 four-floor brownstones that would be individually owned and could be used as a single-family homes or contain one or two rental units.
619 parking spaces.
The property is not zoned for residential building, so it’s status must first be changed by the Ramapo town boards. The developer wants the town to create a new zoning classification called “transit-oriented development.” It’s possible that by the time this project reaches the Town of Ramapo Board meetings, St. Lawrence will be taking up a new residence in a federal institution, council member Samuel Tress will have been convicted a second time on felony counts, and attorney Michael Klein, Nat Oberman, and Aaron Troodler also will be absent due to their legal complications, but that will leave Pat Withers, Itzy Ullman, and Brendel Logan Charles to decide whether they want to create their own assault on what’s left of the ragged Ramapo Master Plan. So far, councilman Pat Withers has offered his take on the project, offering guarded praise: “Deputy Town Supervisor Pat Withers has praised some elements of the proposal but said it may be larger than the area can accommodate.” No mention of possible civil rights complications by the councilman.
We will carefully follow the course this initiative takes and keep a running scorecard on the principals involved–especially those on the Town Board, Planning and Zoning Boards, and Building Dept. Director Anthony Mallia, as well.
Read the full text of the Journal News story and watch the conference here.