Thursday, June 26, 2014

Shalom Lamm hopes to open Bloomingburg private school in September 

Developer Shalom Lamm aims to open a private girls school serving the Hasidic community in just three months, his lawyer said.

"We hope and plan to open the school in September," Terresa Bakner told the Mamakating Planning Board Tuesday night, referring to the school that would be located in an existing building on Main Street in the Village of Bloomingburg.

But first the school must receive Planning Board approval. And that — like most issues concerning the eastern Sullivan County village and Lamm's 396-home Hasidic development — is complicated.

The Bloomingburg Planning Board last year voted down the school, even though it was apparently allowed by zoning. That prompted a lawsuit by Lamm, who said the vote was the result of pressure from residents who were "motivated by blatant and ugly religious bigotry."

Sullivan County Supreme Court Judge Stephan Schick then said the school should go back before the Bloomingburg Planning Board, which was just dissolved by the new administration in the village, which is in the Town of Mamakating. That's why the Mamakating Planning Board is reviewing the project.

So Schick gave the board until June 30 to act on the school.

But because the Mamakating board didn't have time to review what its chairman, Mort Starobin, called "the cartons of information" about the school, a decision was delayed.

"We're complying with the spirit of the ruling," Planning Board attorney John Cappello said Tuesday, without objection from Bakner, who had asked for a prompt decision, noting that the school would not initially ask the Pine Bush School District to provide transportation for its students.


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