Firefighters in Rockland County are sounding the alarm about a life-threatening danger: illegally converted homes and out-of-control construction. The hot zones are in the village of Spring Valley and the neighboring town of Ramapo. View the story here.
“The Board of Trustees this week approved a plan to spend $6.4 million in bond funds to begin bringing aging Fire Department equipment and infrastructure up to date. The 5-0 vote, a rare display of unanimity from the fractured board, came Tuesday night during an otherwise chaotic meeting. The 80- to 90-member department has been asking for new equipment for years. They say their vehicles and gear are dangerously out of date.” Read the complete Journal News story here.
“Volunteer firefighter Aaron Lerer points to his protective jacket with large, brown scorch spots staining the shoulder of the fire-resistant material. He holds up a helmet with a melted face shield and burn marks, and displays one of the radios needed by firefighters inside burning buildings that has an antenna held together by tape. The department’s main tanker truck is 24 years old, more than a decade past its shelf life, and has broken down at fire scenes. Those are just some of the issues Spring Valley firefighters say they are coping with as they respond to emergencies without proper equipment and dependable trucks. They blame a divided village Board of Trustees, which has refused to allocate money to aid the beleaguered volunteers. [Read more…]
They had all been there before, the planning board, the residents, the lawyers, and the Ramapo police at the back of the hall. It was the third time the developer Yechiel Lebovits was bringing the application to the Ramapo Planning Board. The meeting room was packed at 7:30 as Rice and Rocks, attorney and engineer for the developer, labored through their presentation asking for approval for the massive, high-density transplant of about 500 homes on the property once owned by John Patrick.
By the end of the evening, about 12:30 pm, 19 residents, lawyers, mayors, and a county legislator had presented their views on the project. 90% spoke against it, and 10% spoke for it. The two individuals who didn’t object, actually avoided the pertinent issues with one deploring the rhetoric and the other offering a character reference for the builder, Lebovits. [Read more…]
Google Street View of 9 Zeissner Lane, Spring Valley
Walter Booker was released without bail. The homeowner, Rabbi Jacob Goldman, is also facing charges.
“Spring Valley’s chief building inspector and a businessman were arrested Thursday in a corruption investigation that alleges the inspector gave the man false certificates of occupancy for the man’s Zeissner Lane home.That false certificate allowed the businessman to get sizeable tax exemptions and otherwise profit from day-care centers run from the property, prosecutors charge. [Read more…]
“Steven Jaffee, husband of Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee and a longtime Suffern resident, died Tuesday at age 73.The Jaffees moved in 1978 from Brooklyn to Suffern, where they raised their children, Marc and Allison. They were married for 51 years and have three grandchildren. Steven Jaffee was a longtime Democratic Committee member, former chair of the Suffern Democratic Committee and coached youth baseball.” (More)
“Mayor Jeffrey Oppenheim plans to resign in early January from the post he has held for nine years and move out of the village. Deputy Mayor Lance Millman will become acting mayor until the Board of Trustees holds its next meeting on Jan. 20. [Read more…]
“A state Supreme Court judge has rejected neighbors’ request to stop Ramapo from selling what they believe is a portion of Manny Weldler town park to a developer. But the residents aren’t giving up the fight yet. Justice Victor Alfieri ruled in favor of Ramapo this week, apparently agreeing that the 5.64 acres at 24 Grosser Lane has never been part of Weldler park, even though paved walkways on the property are connected to the park.” Read the complete Journal News coverage here.
“Neighbors of the Manny Weldler town park have taken Ramapo to court for planning to sell what they believe is a portion of the park to a developer. Town Attorney Michael Klein, however, says the 5.64 acres of land at 24 Grosser Lane has never been part of the park, even though paved walkways on the property are connected to the park. “We’ve had the piece of land that’s been unused for decades,” Klein said. “The town decided to surplus the property and sell it.” The Article 78 filing is pending before state Supreme Court Justice Victor Alfieri. [Read more…]
“A Spring Valley building official has testified in court that the mayor directed him to issue a certificate of occupancy for a school at 50 Commerce St., despite the official’s concerns that safety inspections weren’t completed. [Read more…]