“KEEP THE HASIDIC OUT” Developers File Lawsuit over Town of Chester Delays

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One hundred and fifty years ago, Chester, New York, was the birthplace of cream cheese, bringing harmony and pleasure into the world.

Now, Chester, New York, lying sixty miles north of New York City, it is a source of bitter controversy. Some Chassidishe developers (and others too) wish to build a 431 unit development – to be called “the Greens at Chester.” There would be tennis courts and a recreation center. The homes would range between 2500 and 3400 square feet.

But to the residents and town officials of Chester – such large square footage spells one statement: “Hasidim are a comin!”

“Look at the density. Look at the size of the units. Look at the location – sixty miles from Williamsburg. It’s only half-way to the Catskills. There is no question that it is intended for Hasidim,” remarked Mark L., a former resident near the area.

“There’s nobody that wants this development to go through,” Alexander Jamieson, the former town supervisor of Chester, said at an explosive public meeting back in May of 2018. “There’s nobody.” Jamieson was forced to resign after being charged with 23 felonies including Grand Larceny.  Jamieson’s charges had nothing to do with the development project.

The current developers purchased the land in 2017 for twelve million dollars – with many of the approvals necessary to move forward, such as permission to clear the land and build roads. Since then, town officials have placed obstacle after obstacle in their path. The town has placed restrictions on the house sizes, delays in building permits and a request to move the main road by ten feet. There were also delay tactics suggested, such as retesting the water, denying sewer permits, and others.

Chester residents at that meeting spoke of a fear that Chester can one day become the new Kiryas Yoel. It was these statements and others that prompted the developers to file a federal lawsuit against the town – alleging discrimination. The $100 million lawsuit alleges violations of anti-discrimination laws, violations of the Fair Housing Act, and breach of contract. The lawsuit was filed in July of 2019.

At a previous meeting, a former town supervisor said, “We can pressure the developer to either go commercial, which I think we should do, or we can buy it. If you want to pay a little bit more to save the town, that might be an option.”

Justin Rodriguez, a spokesman for the county executive, told the New York Times that it appeared that the developers “are using litigation in an attempt to silence public officials from expressing the concerns of their constituents.” He added that the lawsuit against the county had no merit, “and we will vigorously oppose it.”

If the project does end up going through, Chester may undergo a different change. It could be that after 150 years, one will soon be able to purchase cholov yisroel cream cheese in the city of its birthplace.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. while I condemn anyone who opposes Yidden, I must play devils advocate here, we know that this will be an area that will be exclusive to one group, and not even more modern frum people can move there, that they will hire illegals who will live right next door and flood the local PUBLIC SCHOOL with their kids and we know there will be no regard for housing codes and the like. Yidden we are here to make a Kiddush Has-em why do akum have to wish to avoid us?

  2. KBM, when you say “not even more modern frum people can move there”, you know you are not telling the truth. Anyone will be able to move there, and anyone now living there will be able to stay. The problem is that they won’t want to.

    You’re showing exactly why the opposition is illegal. All the concerns you express are against the law. Of course people want to keep their community the way it is, and to prevent it from changing into a place where they will not like to live. Everyone would like that. But they are not entitled to it. Communities change, and it is illegitimate to use government power to try to prevent it. Communities may not lift a finger to prevent illegal immigrants from moving in and flooding the public schools. And they may not lift a finger to prevent chassidim from moving in and turning it into Monsey or KY.

  3. Tell them that the housing is for “refugees”.
    Tell them that the housing is for “unaccompanied minors from the border”

    etc etc. They’ll not only fast-track the permits, you may even get subsidies for it!

  4. Here’s a pull quote from the full story as it appeared elsewhere:

    ““It’s not anti-Semitic to say it’s going to be a Hasidic development,” he said in an interview near the site. “I’m just telling the truth.””

    So using liberal leftist logic of the Looney tune who said this, I could turn this statement around and say, “It’s not racist to say that a particular race is stupid, I’m just telling the truth.”