Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ramapo Planning Board delays decision on Route 306 yeshiva 

The Ramapo Planning Board heard from both sides on Tuesday night before adjourning a decision on whether a Hasidic Jewish congregation can open a controversial two-story yeshiva along Route 306 near Pomona.

The board members told Bobover of Monsey to resolve three issues by Oct. 19, when the board would again consider final site plan approval and a special permit to operate a school in a residential area.

The congregation needs a final review letter from the Hillcrest Fire Department concerning location of a hydrant on the property, a wider street and other issues.

The congregation must resolve an issue of a shared driveway with a neighbor, who will get a new driveway.

The third issue is getting the written approval for a driveway from the New York State Department of Transportation.

Opposed by many of its neighbors, the congregation's plan calls for knocking down the existing house and building a two-story yeshiva on 2 acres at 609 Route 306. The yeshiva can house a maximum of 200 students in 15 classrooms.

The congregation's plans drew opposition from many neighbors. The neighbors have expressed concerns about traffic, safety for the children and the congregation's history of health and safety violations.

Bobover operated the school illegally for two years before closing down in August 2009. Adding to the controversy, a man studying kosher butchering slaughtered a calf at the school, with remnants found dripping blood outside the building and animal's head and intestines stored in a classroom. The congregation paid a $5,000 fine.

The slaughtering issue was not raised at the Planning Board hearing by opponents.

The proposed school came on the heels of Ramapo's approval of a four-story dormitory school on nearby Babcock Lane and the development of nearly 500 houses on the 200-plus acre Patrick Farm. A large dormitory and rabbinical school by Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov is being proposed in the area, but remains stalled in federal court.


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