Monday, January 27, 2020

Jewish Day School May Move Ahead With Some Claims In Dispute With New York Village

A press release from First Liberty describes the claims that gave rise to an opinion by a New York federal district court last week:
The lawsuit, filed in November 2018, alleges that government officials in the Village of Airmont, New York and the Suffern Central School District engaged in a deliberate effort to dissuade Orthodox Jewish residents from staying in or moving to the Village of Airmont. Central UTA owns 21 acres of property within the Village of Airmont that for nearly 20 years served as both a children’s school and day camp. The Village granted multiple approvals for the private, non-Orthodox school to operate. However, since Central UTA purchased the property in 2016 and advised the Village of its plans to build new buildings, Village officials have repeatedly used discriminatory zoning tactics to prevent Central UTA from operating.
In a similar effort, the local school district, Suffern Central, denied Central UTA children transportation and special education services even though it provided these same services to the previous school.
In Central UTA of Monsey v. Village of Airmont, New York, (SD NY, Jan. 23, 2020), the court held that claims growing out of the attempt to obtain approval for building two new school buildings and renovating an existing building should be dismissed for lack of ripeness. However the court allowed plaintiffs to move ahead with their RLUIPA, 1st Amendment and 14th Amendment claims growing out of a Notice of Violation issued as to the operation of a school for 200 to 300 students in an existing building and the failure to provide transportation and special needs services. The Notice of Violation placed the school at risk for over $2 million in fines.