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Ed Day, Rockland County Executive


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 9, 2017
Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications, Office of the County Executive (845) 638-5645

Rockland County Executive Praises Court Decision Halting Ramapo Housing Development

NEW CITY, NY – Rockland County Executive Ed Day said that a new legal decision halting the massive Patrick Farm housing plan in Ramapo that he has fought for years serves as a warning against overdevelopment.

"This decision sends a loud and clear message that reckless development that does not take into consideration the impact on natural resources will not be tolerated," he said. "Towns cannot allow more development than the environment is able to support."

He has spoken out against the Patrick Farm proposal for years, going back to when he was a member of the Rockland County Legislature and his district included Pomona, which abuts the site.

As County Executive, he has fought to make the developers pay their taxes. And the Rockland County Planning Department raised numerous concerns with the plan.

"I had never seen an application that downzoned property to this extent," Day said. "The application shocks the senses, and the scope of this proposal poses an enormous and irreversible impact upon our community and our environment."

Day also testified before the state Department of Environmental Conservation in 2013, asking them not to allow the project.

The Rockland County Planning Department issued an 8-page review of the proposal in 2016 that contained 47 issues of concern.

"I am pleased and relieved that the courts have finally agreed that this development cannot go forward," he said. "It's a win for our environment, our communities and our way of life."

The decision by a state appellate panel annulled both a Ramapo Town Board zoning change and Ramapo Planning Board approvals for a 470-unit housing complex on the 200 acres former farm located near routes 202 and 306.

The developers can only go forward with the project if they restart all environmental studies and requests for approvals and zone changes.

The County began foreclosure proceedings against the owners of Patrick Farm in 2016 after they fell three years behind on their tax bill.

The next day, the developers paid $385,000 in back taxes.

The owners are now 10 months behind on their current bill and owe the County nearly $265,000 in taxes, records show. They also owe the East Ramapo School District $200,000 in unpaid taxes.

"These developers have to pay their taxes just like everyone else," Day said. "We will not allow them to take advantage of the system."

He has instructed County Attorney Thomas Humbach to take whatever legal action is available to collect taxes owed on the property.

The Rockland County Planning Department reviewed the Patrick Farm plan due to its proximity to County roads as well its location near the Mahwah River and other wetlands, Day said.

"The nearly 200-acre site is environmentally sensitive because it contains an aquifer, wetlands, flood plains and steep slopes," he said. "This is exactly the kind of development that will irreparably harm our environment, including our precious water supply. It must be stopped."

Day also praised neighbors and community groups that have been fighting the Patrick Farm development, including Suzanne Mitchell and Deborah Munitz, who formed the group Ramapo Organized for Sustainability and a Safe Aquifer, or ROSA.

"It goes to show that one person or one organization can fight Town Hall and win," he said.

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