Friday, December 30, 2016

Suit Challenges Zoning Approval For Temporary Jewish School

A resident of Ramapo, New York filed suit in a state trial court earlier this month challenging the decision of the Ramapo Zoning Appeals Board which allowed an Orthodox Jewish congregation to convert a single family residence into a temporary school.  The Board relied on a provision of the zoning code that allows use of temporary modular trailers as classrooms for up to two years while obtaining approval to build a permanent school. The residence meets fire and building codes.  The complaint (full text) in Katz v. Town of Ramapo, (Rockland Cty Sup. Ct., filed 12/19/2016) contends that zoning authorities should have required the school to go through the procedures to obtain a special use permit, including a public hearing.  According to the Lower Hudson News, zoning officials say it would not make sense to require tearing down of the house and replacing it with temporary modular trailers, and that kind of burden could not be justified under RLUIPA.