Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jewish camp seeks to settle down in Chestnut Ridge 

A Bergen County-based Jewish organization that is set to use the Chestnut Ridge Middle School for a children’s day camp this summer wants to pitch its tent — more permanently — on property next door.

Representatives for Camp Shalom of Teaneck, N.J., are in preliminary talks with village planners about establishing a day camp for several hundred children on Red Schoolhouse Road.

The 10 ½-acre property is in a residential zone adjacent to the middle school and bordered by Red Schoolhouse Road and Summit Road.

Camp Shalom owner Yosef Levine is one of several parties that have expressed interest in buying the land, said Yshay Manos, real estate broker for property owners Clem and Suzanne Benedetto of New City. Owners have listed it for $1.85 million.

Before any plans may be realized, however, Camp Shalom must contend with zoning regulations.

Day camps are not permitted under the current R-35 residential zone and a variance would be required for Levine’s purposes, Village Attorney Paul Baum said in a Jan. 10 memo to village officials. The memo was a response to a summary of plans Levine submitted to the Chestnut Ridge Community Design Review Committee in early December.

“That was my determination based on my review of the code,” Baum said Wednesday.

The committee examines preliminary plans before applicants formally address the village planning and zoning boards.

Camp Shalom could seek an amendment to the zoning code in order to use the property as a camp, but its next step remains unclear.

Levine declined to comment when contacted by The Journal News. His attorney, Ryan Karben, said: “The camp’s proposal is in its early stages. No site plan has been submitted and when it is, we look forward to a full conversation with village officials and the community about our plans for the site.”

According to the review committee’s documents, Camp Shalom has served 600 campers on both sides of the Rockland-Bergen line during the past two summers. Its motto: “A summer of fun the Torah way.”


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