“A judge sent Patrick Farm’s developers back to square one by rejecting all remaining approvals for construction of a 474-unit housing development in the woods outside Pomona, development opponents said Tuesday.
State Supreme Court Judge Thomas Walsh reversed his previous decisions and followed the edicts of the state Appellate Division panel that issued a series of blows to the developer in November by annulling a zone change and site plan approvals.
“The win … marks another milestone in our community’s persistence to hold the Town of Ramapo accountable to the valid concerns of its residents and not just the desires of developers,” said Suzanne Mitchell, director of the Ramapo Organized for Sustainability and a Safe Aquifer, known as ROSA.
Walsh and the Appellate Division jurists have ruled on several aspects of the project — including the 2010 Town Board zone change, environmental issues like misidentified wetlands, a massive gas pipeline originally not included in the environmental review, and the Planning Board approval process.
A state judge sent Patrick Farm’s developers back to square one by rejecting all remaining Ramapo approvals for construction of a 474-unit housing development at Route 202 and 306 outside Pomona. (Photo: File photo)
Walsh’s updated decisions cleared the last remaining legal cases. Mitchell said he set aside the Ramapo Planning Board’s most recent Patrick Farm subdivision and site plan approvals, as well as the Town Board’s improper environmental review related to wetlands on the 206-acre site sandwiched between Routes 306 and 202.
Walsh also preserved the right of opponents to raise spot zoning claims against Ramapo concerning the Town Board zone change that allowed multi-family housing in 2010 and doubled the number of allowable units, boosting the developer’s potential profit.
Ramapo Town Attorney Michael Klein said Walsh decided to reconsider his previous rulings but he’s not aware of any final decisions. Klein said the Appellate Division rulings will likely be the guide. Klein said the town didn’t take a position on the current appeal to Walsh and the town is not likely to appeal his decision.
Attorney Susan Shapiro said Tuesday that all Ramapo decisions regarding Patrick Farm were improperly enacted and now invalid. Representing her parents, the late developer Milton and Sonya Shapiro, Susan Shapiro’s lawsuit focused on the environmental issues, including the wetlands.
“We appreciate the court’s consistency in these matters,” Shapiro said. “It’s time for the Town of Ramapo to abide by the rule of law and save its residents from excessive
legal costs and prevent litigation for the town’s illegal and detrimental land use approvals in those parts of our town containing irreplaceable environmental resources.”
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