Wednesday, January 09, 2019
The developer of the 181-home Smith Farm project on Gilbert Street has sued Village of Monroe officials after being denied building permits, arguing that the village's objections to the home designs were unfounded and intended to try to block housing for Hasidic families.
The development site covers 79 acres in both the Town of Monroe and the Village of Monroe, and construction has proceeded on the town side after the town's building inspector issued permits.
But the village's building inspector determined that the designs deviated in several ways from the approved plans, prompting an extended conflict that went first to the village's Zoning Board of Appeals and is now pending in state Supreme Court in Westchester County.
The case seeks to overturn Building Inspector James Cocks' denial of permits for a duplex in May and the zoning board's affirmation of that decision in November.
Cocks refused to issue permits after concluding the roof pitch, vinyl siding and back of the homes didn't match what the town and village planning boards approved in 2015.
The approval resolution, for example, listed several acceptable siding materials but did not include vinyl as an option.
Robert Rosborough IV, an attorney for developer BMG Monroe I LLC, disputed each of those grounds and claimed ulterior motives for the permit denial in court papers filed on Dec. 20.
He argued the true motivation was to "find yet another way to frustrate the construction of the Smith Farm project in order to exclude the Hasidic community from the Village of Monroe."
Richard Golden, the zoning board's attorney, called the allegation "outrageous" and "patently false" on Tuesday, and said the only reason Cocks and the board rejected BMG's permits was that the designs didn't comply with the approval terms.
He pointed out that the developer submitted permit applications for three lots on Dec. 7 that were consistent with the approval resolution, and that Cocks issued the permits four days later.
The Smith Farm plans consist of single-family homes and duplexes, the bulk of which will be built on the 60 acres in the town.
BMG plans to build 32 duplex units and 12 single-family homes in the village.
As of Tuesday, the town had issued 54 building permits, and 16 units were under construction. No homes have been completed.
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