Rockland prosecution of Spring Valley violations upheld in settlement with property owner

Office of Building and Codes Director Edward Markunas

A Kennedy Drive property owner who challenged Rockland government’s right to prosecute fire and safety violations settled a lawsuit against the county.

The Manhattan-based owner agreed to pay a $25,000 fine to cover more than 100 violations cited at the seven-story apartment house on Kennedy Drive. The violations found at the Country Village Towers Apartments followed a fire on March 9. Firefighters helped evacuate dozens of people from the building and removed tenants trapped on the top floor.

Many of the open violations have been cured; under the settlement the owners must complete repairs to meet the codes by Oct. 30 and pay a $25,000 fine, the county said in a news release on Friday.

Lawsuit: Landlord’s lawsuit seeks to block Rockland from enforcing Spring Valley building codes

Violations cited: Rockland turns up 100-plus violations after Spring Valley apartment fire

Inspections: Rockland targets Spring Valley buildings with severe problems, sets moratorium on permits

County Attorney Thomas Humbach said Friday that the county and the building owners are resolving outstanding issues, but the owners “have diligently responded to the notice of violations.

“We’re pleased that we were able to reach a resolution of this matter and ensure continued compliance with health and safety measures, including the Uniform Code within the borders of the village of Spring Valley,” Humbach said.

The owners’ attorney, Joseph Churgin of Nanuet, could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.

The lawsuit wanted to block county prosecution

Churgin and his co-counsel, John Stepanovich, had filed a 40-page Article 78legal action in May on behalf of the owners, including Jacob Weinreb, who also faces multiple housing code violations from New York City on properties he owns. The building is owned under Village Towers Corp., NBM Management, LLC, and Weinreb Management, LLC.

The legal action wanted a judge to prevent the Rockland Office of Building and Codes from prosecuting to force compliance with state fire and building codes in Spring Valley.

Rockland took over the village’s inspections and enforcement of state fire and building codes on Feb. 14 on orders from the state Department of State. The unusual move came after the state had a monitor watching over the village for years and in the wake of the March 23, 2021, fire that destroyed Evergreen Court Adult Home and killed a volunteer firefighter and resident.

The county government in February created the Office of Building and Codes to enforce state fire and safety codes in the village.

Read the complete Journal News story here.