Friday, March 21, 2014

Judge declares Village of Woodbury’s zoning “exclusionary” 

A State Supreme Court justice has ruled the Village of Woodbury’s comprehensive plan the zoning amendments constitute “unconstitutional exclusionary zoning.”

The Village of Kiryas Joel had filed an Article 78 challenge to that zoning claiming it prohibited members of the Hasidic Jewish community from living in the Village of Woodbury. The lawsuit by KJ officials contended that because members of the community are required by the tenants of their religion to reside in high-density, multi-family walkable developments, the village’s (Woodbury’s) failure to zone land located near its border with Kiryas Joel to permit such developments as of right is exclusionary.

Justice Francis Nicolai wrote in his decision, dated March 19, 2014, that Kiryas Joel officials “have demonstrated that the village comprehensive plan and/or zoning amendments [have] the effect of exclusionary zoning.”

The judge wrote that the documents did not contain any language or provision expressly prohibiting members of the Hasidic Jewish community from living in the village, “it is clear that if such was not enacted for an improper purpose, the village [comprehensive plan] and the zoning amendments were enacted without giving proper regard to local and regional housing needs of the Hasidic Jewish community and will have an exclusionary effect.”

Woodbury officials are expected to appeal the decision.


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