Hillside on Hold, Temporarily
Judge Robinson heard the RLUIPA lawsuit brought by the Federal prosecutor for the Congregation that wants to build a two-school campus with dormitories on the quiet residential street. The stipulation he offered, signed by Mayor Layne and the board, allowed the application to bypass the zoning regulations of the community. The law firm recently hired by Airmont specializes in RLUIPA cases, and Patrick Fitzmaurice of Thatcher, Proffitt, and Wood has requested a meeting with Robinson to discuss the legality of that original stipulation.
The residents of Hillside and Upper Saddle River were given the opportunity to speak, and for an hour, a steady procession voiced their opposition to the plan. Among those speaking were an environmental engineer with experience in sewer system design, a past member of the Board of Health, lawyers and an engineer from Upper Saddle River, members of HAPA (Hillside Ave. Preservation Assoc.), President of the Upper Saddle River Swim and Tennis Club, a representative from United Water, and residents from both ends of Hillside Ave. Bob Rhodes delivered a short tutorial on spot zoning and incrementalism. He also pointed out that in this and other RLUIPA cases you have the Federal government not only intruding in local land use matters, it actually orders communities to violate New York State law in the process.