Donít wait for next time on zoning

Letter to the Journal News, Dec. 15

Finally, after years where developers have "mistakenly" developed shopping malls which exceeded their approved footprint and "inadvertently" built buildings with extra floors, Ramapo finally has Deputy Building Inspector Steve Conlee, who isnít afraid to call a synagogue a yeshiva when it clearly is so, as reported in a Page 1A story in the Dec. 11 Journal News.

There is a term for ships that fly under false flags for selfish material advantage: Pirates. For far too long, Rockland has been suffering from the predations of these zoning pirates who will say anything to get a building permit and then, when caught violating the zoning law, and more importantly the trust of the citizens of Rockland, claim it is "too late now," and then blackmail the residents and communities with the specter of protracted legal action to achieve their ends.

It has been an unfortunate tradition that the politicians of Rockland, concerned over their own power bases, have backed down to this extortion, always promising to "do better next time." It is finally time to show that the zoning laws are precisely that, laws. Those who violate will pay the penalty, not reap the benefit of their transgressions.

It is time to put an end to developmental piracy, and the synagogue that has become a yeshiva is a good place to start.

David A. Forman