A Few Questions On Astute Strategies
"We appreciate the court’s consistency in these matters," Shapiro said. "It’s time for the Town of Ramapo to abide by the rule of law and save its residents from excessive legal costs and prevent litigation for the town’s illegal and detrimental land use approvals in those parts of our town containing irreplaceable environmental resources.” TAXES: Ramapo's Patrick Farm pays its $385,000 tax bill Terry Rice, the attorney for the developer, Scenic Development LLC, didn't return a telephone call Tuesday for comment. Scenic Development is primarily owned by Yechiel Lebovits and his son Isaac, both politically influential longtime builders in Ramapo. The Lebovits' legal team argued against Walsh's having the authority to reverse his previous decisions, claiming there was no new information from the Appellate Division rulings in November. The Lebovits family purchased the land 2001 for $7.5 million after Clarkstown's efforts to build a golf course on the land stalled before the Planning Board. The land was once the bucolic estate of writer John Patrick, winner of a 1954 Pulitzer Prize for his play "The Teahouse of the August Moon." The proposed development site on the Ramapo-Pomona border, known as Patrick Farm. At the time of the Lebovits purchase, Ramapo had zoned the land for single-family homes, permitting houses on 80,000 square feet of property, roughly 2-acre lots. The Town Board led by then-Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence in January 2010 rezoned the property at the Lebovits' request to allow eight multiple-family homes per acre. Prior to the change, multi-family housing had not been permitted in the more rural areas of Ramapo under the town's 2004 comprehensive plan. ROSA and other activists said the town failed to properly review the development's environmental impacts. They argued Patrick Farm includes wetlands that feed into the Mahwah River, part of the drinking water system for Rockland and Bergen County, New Jersey. Hillcrest firefighters opposed the dense development because the roads are not wide enough to accommodate firetrucks. Opponents also argue the development is near the massive Columbia gas pipeline — which the town didn't thoroughly investigate before approvals were given. The Appellate Division — based on appeals from ROSA, Shapiro and others — found in November that the Town Board and Planning Board failed to look at the development's impact on the environment during the decade-long process. The judicial panel found "the record establishes that the Planning Board did not take a hard look at the issue of wetlands delineations or make a reasoned elaboration of the basis for its determination regarding these issues.” Deborah Munitz, a ROSA board member, said Tuesday the developers have to decide what to do next — whether to try and get the same high-density housing scheme approved by the town or a more reasonable development that fits the character of the area. "They need to come back with a site plan and justify any zone change," she said, adding the proposal was not monitored back in 2010 amid beliefs the Town Board would not make such a massive zone change.
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