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Pomona, NY - Tartikov Sues Village for Right to Build Rabbinical College

Published on: July 10, 2007 03:48 PM
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Pomona, NY - The Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov filed today a complaint against Pomona with the U.S. District Court in White Plains.

The 58-page document argues that the village's unreasonable land use regulations and intentional conduct prohibited the congregation from building and operating a rabbinical college at a 130-acre site off Routes 202 and 306. The village's attitude toward the congregation and its development plans violated its civil rights as protected by the U.S. and New York state constitutions, the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and the federal Fair Housing Act, the document stated.

The congregation recently asked the village to grant it an exemption from village code so it could submit plans for the school and housing without a zone change or variances. The village denied the request, saying it must treat all applicants fairly. [JournalNews]



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Read Comments (15)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 11, 2007 at 10:02 PM Anonymous Says:

robert you should print these letters out, and show it to the guys in pomona town hall. it is important that everyone in the area know that the jewish population of the area is against these guys .

2

 Jul 11, 2007 at 09:40 PM Robert Prol Says:

You can get your own Preserve Ramapo sign to show your support - email to preserveramaposign@gmail.com with your address and we'll bring one to you. You can have "save our town", or "stop the building", or a sign with both messages (one on each side). If baBAD wins, which I doubt he will, we all lose. And while you are at it, why not vote for the Preserve Ramapo slate for Ramapo town positions this election? No need for being anonymous, I stand behind my words.

3

 Jul 11, 2007 at 10:21 AM Anonymous Says:

This whole thing is a farce,read the article yesterday!
"Ulman said it was difficult to comment on the planned rabbinical college because village leaders have yet to see any official plans or applications. She said the complaint filed Monday, which mentions plans for "places of worship, religious educational facilities, religious courts, libraries of Jewish texts and accessory student housing,"
What u see from this that their putting last the wording of "studen housing".
and what 15 years is he talking about?
i'm a heimeshe chasidishe person from monsey, since this whole subject of Tartikov signes of "stop the building" "save our town " went up all over rockland.
why are they affraid to present their plans first??????

4

 Jul 11, 2007 at 10:10 AM Anonymous Says:

Dear 12:30,
Yes, you claim to know him, and he is a special man.
With that all said, what gives him the right to circumvent the law, and create a chillul ha'shem ?
What you have to realize, and what he has to realize ( and he knows it), is that here in America we have laws - and as guests here in America, we must force ourselfs, regardless of how hard it is, to obey these laws. We must not run to cry "anti semite" every time we run up against a law that will not let us turn a profit!
this is nothing more than a SHAM, SCAM, and Pomona better win!

5

 Jul 11, 2007 at 09:23 AM Anonymous Says:

Yes, they use Torah and the Holocaust to argue that they should put up this real estate development. What an abuse of Torah and the holy Kedoshim who perished under the Murderer. Shame on Tartikov and all Yidden who use Torah and the Kedoshim for personal gain.

6

 Jul 11, 2007 at 08:52 AM Anonymous Says:

7:27 Anon. You are 100% right. However 12:11 am makes a point. How can we let the Village of Pomona that we are there to testify on their behalf that this is a hoax and a scam to be tax exempt? I for one would go to court to say just that. What these people are trying to do in Pomona, and the anti Jewish sentiment that they are causing in Rockland is disgusting. Doing this under the guise of Torah makes it even worse.

7

 Jul 11, 2007 at 07:27 AM Anonymous Says:

He may be a "special man", but he is creating a huge amount of anti Jewish sentiment in the Monsey area, where I live. It is unbelievable chutzpa to try to pretend you have a "rabbinical college" that trains dayanim for 15 years when everyone knows that no such school exists, and then use that to force a quiet, beautiful little area to let them put up a large high density real estate development. I am a frum Yid and I am 100 percent opposed to this. They should be deeply ashamed and I am very disappointed, though not surprised, that some people in our community can support such a blatant chillul hashem.

8

 Jul 11, 2007 at 12:30 AM Anonymous Says:

all of you are just jealous. I have some advice for all of you, go work & maybe you will have some luck as him. I know him & he's a special man

9

 Jul 11, 2007 at 12:11 AM Anonymous Says:

Let's support the Village of Pomona and let them know we are behind them.

Do you realize how much it costs us in real estate taxes because of all the phony tax exempts? I pay $10,000 per year in taxes and its going up. When these guys move in and suck us dry, we will pay more and more.

Keep them out. Preserve Ramapo (no pun intended).

10

 Jul 10, 2007 at 08:03 PM Newsday Says:

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Several Hasidic rabbis have gone to federal court for the right to build a rabbinical college that would violate zoning laws in a suburban village.

In a lawsuit filed late Monday, the rabbis and the Rabbinical College of Tartikov Inc. claim that zoning regulations in Pomona, 30 miles from New York City, have been used to exclude the planned college and are "the direct result of fierce anti-Hasidic opposition in the local community."

The plaintiffs have not even tried for variances because village leaders "have made it clear they would never approve construction of this college," said plaintiffs' attorney Paul Savad.

The village, which has about 3,200 residents, recently refused to allow the sponsors to submit plans without going through the zoning system.

Village attorney Doris Ulman said the complaint "is full of innuendo, undocumented statements, misstatements and lies," including some about her. She said the plaintiffs have no standing to sue because they cannot show they've been harmed.

Ulman said it was difficult to comment on the planned rabbinical college because village leaders have yet to see any official plans or applications. She said the complaint filed Monday, which mentions plans for "places of worship, religious educational facilities, religious courts, libraries of Jewish texts and accessory student housing," is the most detailed document they have.

The plaintiffs are seeking housing for 250 students and their families.

The 130-acre site is currently zoned for single-family homes, although a religious camp is using the property legally, Ulman said. The rabbinical group should go through normal channels before deciding whether to sue, she said.

Ulman said village officials have never "discussed or said or done anything to indicate that they are against any religion or any religious use." She said ordinances have recently been liberalized to accommodate yeshivas and dormitories.

Savad, the plaintiff's attorney, said, however, that while village ordinances allow for zoning variances for accredited educational institutions, the rabbinical college would not be accredited because there is no accrediting body for such schools.

So the plaintiffs are invoking a federal law that has been used successfully in the region before. Known as the Religious Land Use Act, it says a religious organization that would otherwise be denied can win a variance if there is no compelling reason for a denial.

Another member of the plaintiffs' legal team, Roman Storzer, said most of the rabbinical students would be from the Hasidic Orthodox sects, though the college would be open to all Orthodox students. He said the Hasidic community needs the college because the rabbis who go through its 15-year training program would address a "dire" shortage of judges for religious courts that resolve issues including marriage, divorce, burial and conversion.

The teachers, the students and the people who use the judges would be engaging in religious activity, he said.

"We need to stop the Village of Pomona, and municipalities across the country, from using their zoning power as a tool to control unpopular religious groups," Storzer said.

Another plaintiffs' attorney, John Stepanovich, said his clients are seeking to exercise their religious rights.

"They want to be good neighbors, but they're not too concerned that their neighbors won't like them or don't like them," he said.

The Religious Land Use Act has been used in at least three other lawsuits in the region, supporting a Jewish school's new building in Mamaroneck, a Hasidic boarding school in Airmont and a residence in Suffern that would allow Orthodox Jews to visit a hospital on the Sabbath without breaking their law against driving. Decisions favoring the two schools are being appealed, and the Suffern case has not gone to court.

11

 Jul 10, 2007 at 07:26 PM Anonymous Says:

I agree w/ anon 4:53
I agree w/ anon 5:39
I agree w/ anon 6.42

12

 Jul 10, 2007 at 07:11 PM Anonymous Says:

The worst part is that because of this there are going to be changes and a weakening to the religious land use act.So when legitimate Shuls and Moisdos want to build they will get turned down because of people like this that ruin it for everybody .

13

 Jul 10, 2007 at 06:42 PM Anonymous Says:

I agree. This is turning out to be nothing more than a for profit real estate deal. If the Pomona Village does its job right they should send these guys packing to Alaska.

14

 Jul 10, 2007 at 05:39 PM Anonymous Says:

If Babad thinks that the yiden in Monsey are going to support him making millions masquearading as a Kollel he is going to be in for a surprise . Let him make his money like everybody else on a level playing field as a businessman

15

 Jul 10, 2007 at 04:53 PM Anonymous Says:

shul should be exempt - okay, but why the other 100 acres?

It is a joke. They have only a few people in kollel. Now the real estate guy and kollel guy come up with grand housing plan that is all about real estate and not about "college".

Rabbinical college - baloney!!! Stay in Brooklyn.

16

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