Ramapo Hamlet Rent Issue Shines Light On Town Plans for Western Ramapo Corridor

Posted on 13 October 2017 by Editor

Ramapo Hamlet residents have gotten an eviction reprieve. During the first week of October residents were delivered eviction notices by the Town of Ramapo. The Town Council had determined to sell off the hamlet land.

Hamlet of Ramapo residents got an eviction reprieve from the Town’s decision to raze the some 15 homes and sell off the 20 hamlet acres for light industrial or commerical use.

CBS2, News12, The Journal News, and other outlets reported on the eviction by the town. People voiced a certain outraged — not only related to the eviction but the sudden proposed land use change for the Hamlet, especially with Ramapo development a front and center issue for residents.

This past week CBS2’s Brian Conybeare was on the ground at the Hamlet with Ramapo Deputy Town Supervisor and council member Brendel Logan Charles as she visited to announce a mea culpa and tell residents that the town had put a halt to the eviction process. The goal of eventually selling the land for commercial or light industrial use is apparently still in place, the the Hamlet is in an environmentally sensitive area.

Many of the houses along Lakes Street in the Hamlet of Ramapo have been around since the 1850s when the Pearson nail plant occupied the warehouse across the Ramapo River from the Hamlet, with some of the houses dating back even earlier, to the days of worker housing for the Pearson Ramapo Iron Works. The Ramapo Land Company sold the 20-acre property to the Town of Ramapo in the early 2009 as part of then Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence’s preservation and green space effort.

Acting Town Supervisor Yitzchock Ullman has a legitimate fiscal concern, with some 11 tenants of the Hamlets owing the town $143,000 in rent going back to 2012. “The town shouldn’t be in the landlord business,” Ullman said in LoHud writer Steve Lieberman’s comprehensive article on the issue. “Housing is inappropriate there. It’s a logistical nightmare for fire trucks.”

But a real concern is that those very same town board members who aided and abetted former Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence’s development decisions at near every turn are now making policy. St. Lawrence envisioned the Torne Valley area of Hillburn as a recreational and educational center for the town.

With the Torne Recreation Center and Ramapo Saltbox as anchors, the area attracted the Ramapo Police Athletic League, which built a youth sports facility in a town-owned facility. Then the great sell-off of Ramapo assets began, apparently part of the supervisor’s and town council’s effort to balance town books.

The PAL-occupied warehouse was sold to Countywide Carting. And the vision of Torne Valley as a recreational and educational area changed.

According to Acting Town Supervisor Ullman, Torne Valley is viewed by the town as future industrial and commercial use.

Town of Ramapo’s Deputy Supervisor announced to Hamlet of Ramapo residents that their November 30th eviction had been rescinded by the town board, mostly like due to CBS2 and other news coverage of the issue. The crux of Hamelt matter resides in what becomes of the some 20 acres and is light industrial or commercial use the property the right use for Western Ramapo.

Somehow a sudden video visit by Ramapo Deputy Town Supervisor Brenda Logan Charles claiming to be acting in the best interest of taxpayers doesn’t ring the right bell. The town board contributed to the financial mess now being attributed solely to former Supervisor Chris St. Lawrence. Patrick Withers, Brendel Logan Charles and Yitzchok Ullman all voted unanimously over the years with St. Lawrence.

There is an election coming up on November 7 that will determine a new supervisor and two council seats up. Many across Ramapo have voiced the need and desire for a new direction.

Let the Hamlet of Ramapo serve as a warning about politics and practices and things to come, and the need for constant vigilance and community action and engagement.

 

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