Ramapo Justice Court’s session on town violation cases – mostly housing cases – lasted about seven minutes Tuesday, with Justice Rhoda Schoenberger and Assistant Town Attorney Anita G. Conklin handling 10 cases.
Only two of the 10 names listed on the calendar showed up for court. The lack of defendants led to a smooth session after the judge took the bench at 1:37 p.m. Court had been scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
Schoenberger told one man the violation he faced for allowing a dog to run free would be dropped if it doesn’t happened again during the next six months. He walked out happy – and without paying a fine.
A representative of Binyan Torah Inc. in Monsey appeared for violation charges from 2006, according to the court calendar. The congregation, at the time, lacked a certificate of occupancy, no site plan, and did construction without a permit.
Schoenberger adjourned the 6-year-old case until May 21 with Conklin’s consent. The representative told the judge the congregation is before a town board that reviews site plans and other issues. There was no mention whether the judge would fine Binyan Torah.
Binyan Torah likely represents the typical of violation case in Ramapo.
People or groups often open schools or houses of worship without permits from the town or required safety and fire equipment. When they are caught, administrators then spend the money installing the proper equipment and then file site plans to legalized what was illegally. The town and its judges allow the process.
In other cases, houses are subdivided illegally into small apartments to accommodate more people and added rents for landlords.
Firefighters have started demanding faster actions from inspectors and tougher penalties from judges in local courts across the county. They are monitoring cases.
Aside from those two cases, Schoenberger and Conklin agreed on sending letter warrants to the congregations and people who failed to attend court.
Most of the cases involved construction without permits. A few also involved refuse and debris, and one involved soil erosion.
One case – Divora Ben-Shimon – dated to 2010 for construction without a permit, while the others were from 2011 and 2012.
It was not clear what stages of the planning and zoning process the cases were or when the court or town would remedy the violations.