A Home Run for ROSA and Patrick Farm Advocates

Posted by on Nov 9, 2017 in Featured, News, News & Events | 2 comments

A Home Run for ROSA and Patrick Farm Advocates

This morning ROSA sent out the following press release. Links to the decisions are at the bottom.

NYS Appellate Division, Second Department decides in favor of all the plaintiffs

RAMAPO, NY, November 8, 2017: In a stunning win for the rule of law and the environment, the Appellate Division

Second Department annulled the Town of Ramapo’s zone change, amendment to the comprehensive plan, and subdivision approvals for Scenic Development’s high density Patrick Farm development. In a series of momentous decisions handed down by the court vacating the Town of Ramapo decisions and approvals for this project, the Court ruled in favor of arguments presented by ROSA plaintiffs, the Village of Pomona, Susan Shapiro representing

Sonya and Milton Shapiro, and Bruce Levine representing Elizabeth Youngewirth.

In January 2010, the Town Board signed off on the environmental review for the project, amended the Town’s Comprehensive Plan and rezoned the Patrick Farm to allow for high density housing on the property previously identified by the Town for being environmentally sensitive.

Immediately recognizing the inadequacy of these approvals and the devastating environmental impacts of this proposed plan, Shapiro, Youngewirth, and the Village of Pomona all filed lawsuits that were eventually tossed out in the lower courts. While these decisions were being appealed, Scenic Development and the Town plowed ahead with the planning reviews and public hearings at a breakneck pace; this is when ROSA 4 Rockland was formed.

Local area activists banded together to create the community supported environmental advocacy group committed to fighting to halt this egregious project. Suzanne Mitchell, Director of ROSA (Ramapo Organized for

Sustainability and a Safe Aquifer) said, “ROSA along with our partners worked tirelessly for the last seven years so that our cases against the Town of Ramapo and Scenic Development were iron clad.” She notes, "ROSA's research and fact based advocacy throughout our numerous legal proceedings led to the positive outcome we had all hoped for.”

“Since day one, ROSA told community supporters that while we had several wins in the Rockland Supreme Court, we were prepared to see all the cases through to the appellate courts so that the fundamental flaws in this project would be recognized and considered. As we hoped, the Appellate Court agreed that the Town’s original reviews were flawed and is now forcing the Town of Ramapo to revisit the environmental impacts for the zone change, essentially returning the property back to its original low density designation.” says ROSA Board Member, Deborah Munitz.

Attorney Susan H. Shapiro, of Rockland Environmental Group, LLC, who represented her deceased parents Milton and Sonya Shapiro says, “This is an important win requiring the Town of Ramapo to comply with the laws. We are thankful that the Appellate Division overturned the lower Court’s rulings and annulled the Town of Ramapo’s illegal approvals, which endangered public health and safety by allowing construction of high density housing in close proximity to a pre-existing high pressure gas main and endangering a large portion of Rockland County’s drinking water supply.”

Decision Details

In the Youngewirth and the Village of Pomona matters, the Second Department agreed with Bruce Levine and Doris Ullman that the Town of Ramapo’s “Town Board failed to take a ‘hard look’ at the environmental impact of placing the proposed development in close proximity to the existing Columbia Gas pipeline, and the combined environmental impact of the pipeline and the development together” when considering amendments to the Town Comprehensive Plan and the rezoning of the Patrick Farm site to allow for the proposed project under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).

  • The Second Department, accordingly annulled the Town Board’s determinations on the Comprehensive Plan and the rezoning Board of the Town of Ramapo, and remitted the matter to the Town Board for the preparation of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) under SEQRA “on the issues of the environmental impact of placing the proposed development in close proximity to the existing Columbia Gas pipeline, and the combined environmental impact of the pipeline and the development together.”

In a series of separate decisions also concerning Patrick Farm, the Appellate Division, Second Department annulled the Town of Ramapo Planning Board’s March 22, 2013 determinations to grant final subdivision and site plan approval for the Patrick Farm project, holding that “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.”

  • The Second Department remitted the matter to the Planning Board for the preparation of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act “regarding the presence of wetlands on the subject property,” and held that the Planning Board improperly violated Town Code Section 376-42(A), which establishes that no more than 50% of wetlands may be counted toward minimum lot area.
  • The Second Department also held that the Planning Board improperly failed to require the creation of a homeowners’ association for the project.

Acknowledgements

In addition to all the help and support from our volunteers, the Board of ROSA 4 Rockland wants to thank all of the experts, our attorneys Daniel Richmond - partner at Zarin & Steinmetz –and Susan Shapiro, Melanie Golden and other attorneys at the Rockland Environmental Group, for working with us to achieve this victory. And finally we wish to recognize all of the ROSA financial supporters without whom we couldn’t have come this far!

Links to Decisions

2017-11-08 Appellate Bodin v Planning Bd 2014­07005

2017-11-08 Bodin v Town of Ramapo 2012-08347

2017-11-08 Matter of Bodin v Planning Bd 2012­11030

2017-11-08 Shapiro v Planning Bd 2012-10588

2017-11-08 Shapiro v Planning Bd 2014-07003

2017-11-08 Shapiro v Town of Ramapo 2012-08384

2017-11-08 Shapiro v Town of Ramapo 2013-06059

2017-11-08 Village of Pomona v Planning Bd 2012-10582

2017-11-08 Village of Pomona v Town of Ramapo 2013-06058

2017-11-08 Youngewirth v Town of Ramapo Town Bd 2013-06057

2 Comments

  1. There are no words to describe how thankful I am to you for all of the efforts you have put forward to save Ramapo and it’s residents from the utter destruction that has plagued our town as a result of the corruption of those in charge of protecting us and our beautiful town. I wish I could hug each and every one of you involved in the long exhausting fight to save us from this proposed nightmare and preventing the total devastation of our precious resources. Thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  2. Thank you!

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