Photo Credit: wikipedia
Map of Monsey

Last month, Yossi Gestetner argued in these pages that opponents of overdevelopment in Rockland County really oppose chassidim, not overdevelopment.

He is mistaken. Rockland County is a beautiful area consisting of magnificent parks, greenery, magical lakes, and houses on properties that allow one to enjoy the beautiful, tranquil, rural nature of the land.

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Many of the roads – narrow and intended for smaller cars – wind through apple orchards and mountains. Residents like myself enjoy the quiet character of country living while still having access to the city. I would like to preserve this character – as do many others who speak out against overdevelopment.

Developers – whose focus is the almighty dollar, not protecting the integrity of the county’s character – are unwanted. It’s that simple. It matters not if they are charedi, Indian, Asian, or something else. Anyone who wants to turn four parcels of land into one, build a school, or put up density housing is harming the county’s character on multiple levels.

Rockland County’s roads aren’t built for heavy traffic, and new schools mean school buses, large parking lots, numerous cars, and noise. High-density housing brings some of the same and also necessitates opening additional schools.

To go ahead with their plans, developers need to change the zoning designations of many of the properties they are interested in, which is why I – like many of my neighbors – are fighting to make sure they don’t succeed. The fact that requests for zoning changes are being denied is not a function of those making the requests, but rather those like myself who want to see the character of a beautiful county preserved.

It really behooves those who immediately cry “anti-Semitism” or “anti-charedi-ism” to take a good hard look at what developers are demanding. They may realize why so many residents find their plans unappealing.

This is not about preventing charedi expansion. It’s about preventing any expansion that changes the character of the county. To suggest otherwise is to create an unnecessarily self-fulfilling prophecy – one in which people can no longer live in peace because of a hatred that didn’t have to be fueled. It is a disservice to Jews everywhere.

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Julie D. Globus is a corporate transactional attorney licensed in New York and New Jersey.