“Neighbors of the massive Viola Estates housing complex have beaten back a developer’s stealth inclusion of basement space for potential illegal apartments at the Viola Road development across from Ramapo High School.
The agreement reached limited the number of condominiums to the town-approved 44, sealed off outside entrances to basements and removed electrical panels, boilers and other items that could support apartments.
The builder also regraded the ground outside the former entrances to make reopening the doors problematic, said Steven Mogel, attorney for the neighbors who took Ramapo and the developer to court to force compliance with approved building plans.
“Everything we documented that the property was being prepped and boldly used for illegal apartments has been removed,” Mogel said Friday.
He said his clients stood up to an influential developer with deep financial pockets and Ramapo government and proved opposition can win. The Ramapo Town Board approved the settlement.
“They stood their ground,” Mogel said. “They had to contend with not just a developer, who had millions of dollars to spend, but a very hostile municipal environment in which the town joined forces with the developer.”
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