“Town officials have set a date to vote on a bundle of amendments to its zoning codes that currently fall short of state regulations, and will offer an opportunity for residents to sound off on the changes.
More than a dozen amendments to Ramapo zoning law came at the direction of the New York Department of State. The changes — which span from granting building permits and certificates of occupancy to the duties of the building inspector and maintaining detailed files — also follow a Department of State letter from July criticizing the town for failing to comply with state regulations.
“The New York Department of State, in its review of the Town’s Zoning Law, has directed the Town to amend its Zoning Law to clarify the applicability of, and compliance with, various provisions of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and the State Energy Conservation Construction Code,” according to the amendment.
A public workshop about the proposed amendments will be held at 6 p.m. on Nov. 3 at Town Hall. with the town attorney and officials.
The Town Board is expected to vote on the amendments at its Nov. 27 meeting.
In July, state Executive Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Giardina sent a letter to Ramapo saying that the town was neither administering nor enforcing the state’s minimum standards for fire prevention and building codes. That letter came months months after the state ordered Ramapo to bolster its enforcement.
The state’s letter called on the town to “take immediate action to address these deficiencies and submit reports to the Department concerning the action taken.”
State Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City, said the town’s “culture of variances,” or granting exceptions to zoning codes, and the “explosion of conversions” of single-family homes to multi-family homes have created a situation in Ramapo that may not be corrected by the amendments alone.
“These are technical changes that should help, but won’t solve the overall issues in that town,” said Zebrowski, who has repeatedly called on the state to take over the town’s building inspection work.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said in an email that, “What happens in Ramapo has an impact on all of Rockland, particularly when it comes to safety issues.”