Sunday, November 06, 2016

Kiryas Joel files lawsuit over Camp LaGuardia plans 

The Village of Kiryas Joel has filed a lawsuit challenging Orange County’s plans to develop the Camp LaGuardia site — owned by the county — into an industrial park.

The lawsuit calls for a judge to reverse the Town of Chester’s rezoning of the property to industrial and for any further progress with the project be suspended until a more detailed environmental review of the entire project is conducted.

Similar in rationale to a notice sent out by the village in April where KJ officials expressed interest in being involved in Camp LaGuardia planning, the recent lawsuit cites significant impacts the site’s redevelopment would have on the region and Kiryas Joel’s need for affordable, high-density housing as to why they are getting involved.

The village claims that the “protectionist efforts” of Orange County, the Town of Blooming Grove, and the Town and Village of Chester — the municipalities where the site is located — have placed an “unfair burden” on Kiryas Joel.

“As a result of these exclusionary planning and zoning practices... Kiryas Joel is and will continue to be uniquely burdened to provide additional housing, infrastructure, and community services for the local and regional Hasidic Jewish population,” the lawsuit states. “This unique burden imposed by the actions of the Chester Town Board and the County will continue to result in significant environmental impacts to Kiryas Joel, including, but not limited to, impacts to its community character and sewer and water resources.”

Camp LaGuardia site
The 258-acre Camp LaGuardia site, located in the Town and Village of Chester and the Town of Blooming Grove, was bought by Orange County earlier this year, with the county paying the site’s would-be developer $1.1 million to cancel its contract. The development company, Mountco Corp., had been planning to build a 700-unit condominium complex on the property for years.

County Executive Steve Neuhaus announced the county’s current plan for light industrial zoning and development of the site at his State of the County address in March.

Neuhaus responded to the lawsuit in an emailed statement:

“This is the type of behavior that negatively impacts all Orange County taxpayers and is just one more reason why taxpayers feel abused by Kiryas Joel. The so-called poorest community in the nation tries to frustrate economic development by hiring high-priced lawyers to keep this property from being put back on the tax rolls.

“Camp LaGuardia offers great economic potential and it is disappointing that Kiryas Joel is trying to stop that.”

Blooming Grove Town Supervisor Robert A. Fromaget has said that the town is interested in the industrial development of the site mainly for the tax benefits of more ratables and revenue for the town. But unlike the Town of Chester, Blooming Grove has not yet rezoned their 39 acres of the Camp LaGuardia site.

Other development interests
The lawsuit is the latest effort in Kiryas Joel's quest for more places for its expanding population. Just last month, a judge cleared the way for the village to expand it's boundaries by annexing 164 acres from the Town of Monroe into the village. That decision may be challenged while another proposal to annex 507 acres from the town remains in court.

People with ties to the Hasidic communities in Kiryas Joel and in Brooklyn also have been buying homes in the nearby towns of Blooming Grove and Woodbury.

Kiryas Joel has also expressed their interest in another large commercial development planned for the Town of Goshen — Legoland. A lawyer representing the village has requested all information relative to the Legoland theme park, according to Town of Goshen Supervisor Doug Bloomfield at a June work session.

The Legoland park is planned for 153 acres of a 523-acre site on Harriman Drive in the Town of Goshen.

Town of Goshen Attorney Rick Golden has also addressed Kiryas Joel’s interest in Legoland.

“Kiryas Joel’s propensity of late is to look at various municipalities in the area considering zone changes and challenge them, claiming that the zoning does not provide for enough high-density housing,” Golden said in June. “New York law requires that municipalities must shoulder their fair burden of high-density housing, typically two-family homes and rental opportunities."

Golden said that the town is well within compliance with its affordable housing requirements and will not be altered by Legoland.

The lawsuit
Kiryas Joel filed their lawsuit on Oct. 21 in state Supreme Court , with defendants including Orange County, the Town and Village of Chester and the Town of Blooming Grove. The case has been assigned to Justice Maria Vazquez-Doles, the wife of Town of Monroe Supervisor Harley Doles, who was elected by the Kiryas Joel bloc vote.


Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Chaptzem! Blog