Sunday, February 20, 2011

Yeshiva plans scaled back in Chester 

The Hasidic owners of the former Inn at Chester are scaling back their plans to build a yeshiva at the site, as a deadline nears for them to start work on the project or risk shutting the school down.

Yeshiva Toras Chemed of Mount Kisco has until August before a settlement with the town to use trailers at the site as a temporary school runs out. The school, which traces its roots to a Holocaust scholar-hero, has touted for more than three years that it would build a formidable yeshiva, attracting students from all over the world.

The original site plan approved several years ago included a three-story 36,000-square-foot school building and a 9,000-square-foot dormitory. However, construction of the project never began, and a new engineer on the project, Kirk Rother of Warwick, approached the Planning Board early this month with a new scaled-down proposal that would build a two-story 24,000-square-foot building and a 4,500-square-foot dormitory.

The new version would also leave out a proposed drive that would connect the school to another access to the school from Route 17M. Officials with the school declined to answer questions about the changes.

Plans for the yeshiva drew attention in 2005, when Yeshiva Toras Chemed purchased the property, taking the ratable, assessed last year at $1.3 million, off the tax rolls. The school then violated multiple building codes in constructing a temporary school made of trailers.

The town settled the violations with the property owner under the condition that it make good on its promise to follow the law and to build a new school. The temporary use of the trailers would also be limited to 18 months.

But that deadline has been extended twice, and work has yet to be started. The temporary school also drew complaints from residents, who feared hitting the dark-clad yeshiva students while they walked along Route 17M, especially at night.

Building Inspector Joel Mlcoch said the town will likely grant another extension of the deadline, as long as the new site plan is approved by the Planning Board.


send your boyz, its a great yeshiva


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