“Owners of the property where a religious school began operating without village approvals in 2016 has come to an agreement with Rockland County over fines, inspections and the use of dormitories.
But the school still lacks approvals and permits as it continues to operate, and the village maintains it should be shuttered until they are granted.
Chestnut Ridge Ventures, the owner of the former Edwin Gould property where Bais Yaakov Elementary School of Rockland County operates, agreed to a $1,000 fine and a timetable to complete inspections, among other things, Rockland Executive Ed Day said in a statement released Monday.
The agreement was signed by Health Commissioner Patricia Schnabel Ruppert and Heshy Censor, the property coordinator for Chestnut Ridge Ventures.
“Our goal has always been to get compliance,” Day said in the statement. “We worked collaboratively with the school to reach an agreement that protects the safety of children while also upholding the requirements of the Rockland County Sanitary Code.”
Bais Yaakov leases a building from Chestnut Ridge Ventures where it operates a private girls school with more than 300 students between the ages 4 and 6.
However, the school failed to get the necessary permits when it opened, and was later found not to be in compliance with zoning and fire code regulations.
County officials also discovered two dormitories ready for use on the property earlier this year. The dorms are not related to Bais Yaakov.
As part of the agreement, the county will not issue a rooming house permit until the village approves a site plan for the dorms, Day said.
The dorms are expected to be used by rabbinical students from Congregation Ohel Yaakov, which is seeking to relocate after losing its home on Yale Drive in Monsey.”
The village previously filed a legal challenge against the property owners and school, along with others, in state Supreme Court to close the school. The next hearing will be Wednesday before Justice Linda Christopher.
The mayor said the school was being allowed to apply for permits and site plan approval “after the fact” when “all the work was already done.”
“I don’t believe the court, however, is really following the process that’s out there — whether it’s a school or a dry cleaners. Before you carry on your business, there are certain preliminary approvals.”
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