Congregation’s legal action against Airmont is dismissed by state judge
“An acting state judge rejected an Orthodox Jewish congregation’s legal action claiming Airmont violated its own zoning laws involving a synagogue hit with violations during a village wide building moratorium.
Mayor Philip Gigante applauded the village’s vindication in state Supreme Court, as he also has denied allegations made in two separate federal lawsuits claiming the village discriminates against Orthodox and Hasidic Jews.
The congregation’s legal action – called an Article 78 – has nothing to do with the two civil rights lawsuits.
“Contrary to the petitioner’s allegations, Airmont is committed to enforcing its codes equitably and fairly,” Gigante said. “We believed this complaint to be without merit, and we are glad that the judge agreed and dismissed this action.”
Acting state Supreme Court Judge Rolf Thorsen, an elected County Court judge, wrote the congregation claimed being exempt from the moratorium when that status didn’t exist.
Thorsen agreed with the village that Rabbi Eliezer Halberstam and his congregation needed to seek an exception from the moratorium from the Airmont Board of Trustees. The judge ruled Halberstam’s congregation created its own issues and damages by not seeking available administrative remedies with the village.
The Congregation of Echo Ridge’s issue centered on the moratorium had blocked instituting parking on two adjoining properties at 1 and 3 Echo Ridge Road.
Halberstam, who has claimed the village’s zoning and enforcement is discriminatory, obtained a building permit in 2014 for a Hasidic Jewish synagogue at 3 Echo Ridge Road.
Halberstam declined comment on the decision.”
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