Monsey, NY - A Journal News Editorial piece today took a swipe at local Ramapo officials and the ultra-Orthodox over across-the-board problems with zoning and housing violations, over-crowding and an apparent climate of lawlessness that has left many now referring to the town as “Dodge City,”—-the legendary Kansas locale that become known for illegal activity.
Published on LOHUD.com the piece points to a variety of issues, while naming “porous zoning laws,” “burgeoning immigrant and ultra-Orthodox populations,” and a “lack of political resolve” on behalf of civic leaders as the some of the main reasons for a continued deterioration of the community.
For instance, in citing a lack of “political will” among local leaders, editors cite the “political clout” carried by the ultra-Orthodox as a “key” reason why the construction of yeshivas and new housing often begins before permits are even granted.
Also cited are calls from firefighters and the all-volunteer Rockland County Illegal Housing Task Force, who say that the lack of muscle in enforcing and collecting fines from fire, building, and zoning violations has left “slum lords” operating with “impunity,” and largely free of consequences when skirting regulations.
Editors call for a stronger commitment from municipal leaders in “making noncompliance more costly than the profits gained by flouting the rules,” and say that it may ultimately fall on the shoulders of voters to change the culture of lawlessness.