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Sullivan County, NY - Confidential Bloomingburg Report Outlined Plans For Thousands Of New Housing Units

Published on: April 21, 2016 02:06 PM
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Bloomingburg Village Hall. Nov. 24, 2014 (Shimon Gifter/VINnews.com) Bloomingburg Village Hall. Nov. 24, 2014 (Shimon Gifter/VINnews.com)

Sullivan County, NY - While a document unsealed by a federal judge this week appears to indicate that developer Shalom Lamm had high hopes for his Chestnut Ridge housing project in Bloomingburg, targeting the tiny village for an eventual takeover that would allow it to become home to thousands of Chasidim, a spokesperson for the village’s Jewish Community Council dismissed the report as a preliminary draft that was never shared with investors.

The lengthy executive summary, dated January 14, 2013, appears in full in The River Reporter and is classified “Very Highly Confidential,” opening with a statement declaring a multi-stage project that was intentionally kept under wraps.

“The developers of Chestnut Ridge have worked for 7 years in complete secrecy to achieve a fully approved project {Phase I).  It is intended to be a transformative community that would ultimately accommodate thousands of families.”

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Described as the smallest village in New York State, Bloomingburg was considered an ideal location for the fledgling community that would, in its initial stages, be home to 396 families in Chestnut Ridge, as well as other Jewish residents in the area.  Because of its diminutive population, Bloomingburg’s new Chasidic residents would constitute a majority, giving them a powerful advantage in future elections.

“With the initial occupancy of these homes, the owners of Chestnut Ridge will effectively control the local government, its zoning and ordinances.”

Laying out a multi-phase plan, the document paints Bloomingburg as an attractive option for the growing Satmar community, with between 5,000 and 7,000 housing units to be constructed.  Also planned was an infrastructure that would include a large synagogue, schools, a grocery store, a medical center, retail space and professional offices.  A mikvah located on a nearby street in a maintenance building would be large enough to accommodate 14 boros.

Future expansion plans outlined include an 11 acre site half a mile from Bloomingburg that could be home to community institutions and properties adjacent to Chestnut Ridge, “quietly acquired or optioned during this silent time” to allow for additional growth.  While not all of the land is currently located in Bloomingburg, the executive summary indicates that those properties would be annexed into the village.

“The intention of developers is to provide an excellent and secure solution to the housing crises, to build a complete Hassidic/Torah community with all of its support facilities and to be rewarded for the years of secret toil and investment with a very substantial return on investment.”

Factoring in all costs, including overhead, bank debt, engineering, architectural and legal fees, the entire Bloomingburg project could net developers $336.5 million in profits once completed.

According to the Times Herald Record, the document was sent by Lamm to Reuven Hellman, managing director and senior vice president for legal affairs at Meridian Capital Group at that time.  It was released on April 11th by Judge Katherine Forrest who is overseeing a federal discrimination lawsuit brought by the developers of Chestnut Ridge against officials at the Village of Bloomingburg and the Town of Mamakating.

Michael Fragin of the Bloomingburg Jewish Community Council said that the executive summary, which sports several typographical and grammatical errors, was a draft of an investor pitch that was never shared with any potential investors.

“There is nothing in there that is illegal or improper,” Fragin told VIN News. “Any suggestion that this represents some vast conspiracy is part of the hysteria that has enveloped this project. There is nothing wrong with selling housing to willing buyers, even if they are Hasidic Jews.”

Noting that Chestnut Ridge was built lawfully and openly and is open to the general public, Fragin said that after losing battle after battle in court, the opposition to Chestnut Ridge is hoping to gain favor in the court of public opinion.

“Bill Herrmann and the Town of Mamakating continue to squander tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars in their quest to keep Hasidic Jews from living in their town,” said Fragin.


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Read Comments (10)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 21, 2016 at 02:15 PM RocklandRes Says:

More work for Preet.

2

 Apr 21, 2016 at 02:35 PM kenyaninwhitehouse Says:

basically a Kiryas Joel for the Zali's, replete with no consideration for the Goyish neighbors.

3

 Apr 21, 2016 at 02:58 PM Yossi Says:

kyn yirbi vkyn yifrotz.....

4

 Apr 21, 2016 at 02:58 PM Anonymous Says:

This scheming is precisely why we are hated the world over. No wonder the fbi is investigating bloomingsberg

5

 Apr 21, 2016 at 03:12 PM Maven Says:

Awesome idea for the housing crisis plaguing the Jewish community.

The only problem, it aint so cheap in Bloomingburg. As of now anyone who moves out there is taking a risk will it work out or it wont. And to move to such a place which is virtually new to the Jewish community they are asking plenty of money.

At the same time it is a huge Shanda how the frum community in Brooklyn Williamsburg in particular are being kicked out mercilessly by greedy Chasidishe developers. The Gehonim (hell) is not big enough for these Millionaire developers.
Don't give Tzedakah and dont rob poor people.

6

 Apr 21, 2016 at 03:40 PM RocklandRes Says:

$330,000,000.00! Guess Lamm could abandon morality for that.

7

 Apr 21, 2016 at 04:04 PM Anonymous Says:

They are being investigated for using federal dollars and not allowing gay people to buy or rent. And the gays are politically connected.
Government money comes with a price.

8

 Apr 21, 2016 at 04:25 PM j Says:

Reply to #5  
Maven Says:

Awesome idea for the housing crisis plaguing the Jewish community.

The only problem, it aint so cheap in Bloomingburg. As of now anyone who moves out there is taking a risk will it work out or it wont. And to move to such a place which is virtually new to the Jewish community they are asking plenty of money.

At the same time it is a huge Shanda how the frum community in Brooklyn Williamsburg in particular are being kicked out mercilessly by greedy Chasidishe developers. The Gehonim (hell) is not big enough for these Millionaire developers.
Don't give Tzedakah and dont rob poor people.

How about boro park and flatbush?

9

 Apr 21, 2016 at 07:11 PM Chaim Says:

Reply to #5  
Maven Says:

Awesome idea for the housing crisis plaguing the Jewish community.

The only problem, it aint so cheap in Bloomingburg. As of now anyone who moves out there is taking a risk will it work out or it wont. And to move to such a place which is virtually new to the Jewish community they are asking plenty of money.

At the same time it is a huge Shanda how the frum community in Brooklyn Williamsburg in particular are being kicked out mercilessly by greedy Chasidishe developers. The Gehonim (hell) is not big enough for these Millionaire developers.
Don't give Tzedakah and dont rob poor people.

No1 is stopping you from remaining in Bp or Willi and continuing to enjoy the awesome quality of life!!

Bloomingburg will work out big time!! No1 needs your encouragement. The ppl that are smart and looking to move out of this cramped and busting streets (knh') will have the last laugh no doubt.
You will be scratching your head and saying "why didn't I buy a house in SI or Bloomingburg when the prices were low"!

10

 Apr 22, 2016 at 11:51 AM joseph Says:

Even if the document is 100% accurate, there is nothing in it describing anything illegal.

11

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