Foil: Your right to Know.
“A private boys school that was ordered closed after being cited for operating illegally on rustic South Mountain Road is up for sale after Clarkstown inspectors issued the owner violation notices.
While looking to sell the two-story Normandy house on five acres for $1.2 million, the owner of record, Yoel Yzvi Templer, also has appealed a Supreme Court justice’s temporary order closing his school on March 24, according to court documents. The house was last purchased for $850,000 in October 2022, according to real estate websites and public records.
Clarkstown argued in court papers that Templer turned the four-bedroom house into a dormitory school for more than 22 students in violation of town zoning and state fire and safety codes. He did construction work and operated the school without permits and land-use approvals for site plans to use the house as a school, according to Clarkstown inspectors.
The town’s legal action states the house has a certificate of occupancy as a single-family house, not a school. The town also claims the school population has degraded the area’s water well and septic systems used by the house and neighbors, according to the town’s court papers.
Supreme Court Justice Christie D’Alessio gave Templer until April 14 to respond to Clarkstown’s allegations and her closure order, which included removing the students and staff from the house.
The Supreme Court case file shows Templer’s attorney, Lee Lefkowitz, submitted a notice of appeal to the Appellate Division on April 19 challenging the decision to prevent the property from being used as a religious school. The appeal argues the judge granted the temporary injunction “despite no immediate irreparable harm and the equities favoring the defendant’s continued use of the property.”
Based on the appeal and the potential sale of the property, Templer’s plans for the property are unclear. Templer, a property owner from Spring Valley, could not be reached for comment. Lefkowitz, an attorney with Zarin & Steinmetz in White Plains, did not return telephone calls concerning the legal actions and Templer’s plans for the property. Deputy Clarkstown Attorney Kevin Conway said Templer, like any other property owner in town, needs to get land-use approvals and meet zoning requirements to operate a school.
Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann has called the violations “egregious” and said the town will not allow violations of zoning and unsafe conditions for residents and first responders. The house is located up a steep hill off South Mountain Road, making access for firefighters difficult. The area also lacks municipal hydrants.
Unlike other municipalities, Hoehmann said, Clarkstown goes to state court seeking search warrants to enforce town zoning and building codes and state fire and building regulations, if there are health and safety issues. Hoehmann said single-family houses are not constructed to be used as schools. Neighbors informed Clarkstown officials last year about the school opening and how the operation affected their lives, he said.”
Read the complete Journal News story here.