CATSKILLS: 8 Frum Camps Sue Over Town’s New “Discriminatory” Rules

(AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

The town of Wawarsing in Ulster County, NY, has been hit by a federal discrimination lawsuit filed by the administrators of eight Orthodox Jewish summer camps and a school who say that the town passed onerous restrictions on them.

Last fall, the town passed ordinances confining new camps to just two areas and set rigid rules about their capacity, fencing requirements and cabin occupancy.

The camps and school say the new requirements will make it impossible for them to expand or make upgrades without facing near-insurmountable hurdles.

The camps suing the town over the restrictions serve approximately 4,300 frum boys each summer.

The town said the new rules were put in place to ensure the camps and school are “compatible with the surrounding land uses, have adequate access to emergency service providers, can be served adequately by sewer and water systems, and will not have adverse townwide impacts,” that it is intended to “protect the rural character and open space in the town.”

But lawyers for the camp see a more sinister motive at hand, saying the rules make it “impossible for Orthodox Jewish camps to expand, repair, and continue to operate in the town, thereby forcing them to relocate to another town.”

The lawsuit accuses Wawarsing of violating the Constitution, the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and state law.

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  1. “protect the rural character and open space in the town.”

    And that is precisely the problem. A town is not entitled to do that. People move somewhere because they like the atmosphere and the type of area it is, but they have no guarantee that it won’t change, and they have no right to prevent it from changing. If they don’t like the change then let them move somewhere else, but remember that that place is eventually going to change too. That is progress, and you can’t stand in its way.