Pomona Village Hall

Rabbinical college proposal: Pomona declines to act on Tartikov’s pitch for zoning change

“A rabbinical college asked the village government to approve a zoning amendment to pave the way for constructing the congregation’s long-discussed educational campus with family dormitories amid a 100-acre parcel.

The Board of Trustees didn’t respond to the Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov’s offering so the proposal remains stalled after 15 contentious years of court battles.

“We filed an application for a text amendment that would revise the village’s laws that prevent our clients from building the rabbinical college,” Tartikov attorney Joseph Churgin of Nanuet said. “The Village Board placed the matter on the agenda (Monday night) and when it came up, declined to consider it.”

Tartikov’s refusal to submit development plans was cited by a federal appeals panel in a June rejection of the congregation’s request to void the village’s zoning code. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a judge’s decision, turning down Tartikov’s claims that two of four village zoning laws were discriminatory and restrictive.

Tartikov: Congregation requests Pomona make zoning amendment for rabbinical college.

Court ruling: Federal panel rejects Tartikov rabbinical college’s attempt to void Pomona zoning laws

Legal fees: Pomona creates plan to pay Tartikov $2.5 million in legal costs over 13-year legal action

Tartikov has proposed multiple buildings and dormitories within 130 wooded acres along the Route 202-306 corridor. The area is across from another developer’s plan to build 474 homes amid 206 acres on the Patrick Farm property. Local opposition and court decisions have stalled the development but a new developer has resurrected the proposal before Ramapo land-use boards.

On Monday night in Pomona Village Hall, Tartikov’s representatives petitioned the Board of Trustees to make zoning changes to allow religious educational uses in the village. The changes would include Tartikov’s proposed rabbinical institute. The congregation also attempted to make a land-use presentation but was rebuffed since the amendment was the sole agenda item.

What Tartikov proposed

To allow family dorm living in the village, Tartikov wanted the board to replace the zoning code’s definition of educational institutions and add a definition for adult student housing, according to Churgin’s letter to the village. In addition, Tartikov wanted the board to add a zoning code provision allowing adult student housing as a permitted accessory use across the village. Pomona Village Attorney Brian Nugent said he told the trustees Tartikov sought to amend the code to expand the definition of “educational use” to add “non-profit institutions of vocational, religious, professional or post-secondary education.”

He said Tartikov also proposed eliminating language that required that educational institutions “be accredited by the New York State Education Department or similar recognized accrediting agency.”

The federal appeals panel found Tartikov has still failed to engage in any conduct that would implicate or invoke the operation of the challenged zoning laws. The Board of Trustees has had no opportunity to consider and rule on any concrete proposal. “In fact, Tartikov has never filed a single land-use application with the Village of Pomona to develop their property,” said Nugent.”

Read the complete Journal News story here.