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KJ Battle Over Zoning Board

Kiryas Joel, NY – Does KJ have a ZBA?

A new lawsuit against Kiryas Joel and its main religious institution raises the question of whether the village has a legitimate zoning board of appeals to settle zoning disputes and grant relief from local codes.

Such panels are standard features of local government.

But the plaintiffs say the four men who convened as a Zoning Board to hear their case in April were also identified as members of the village’s Planning Board — in violation of a federal court order prohibiting Kiryas Joel residents from serving on multiple municipal boards.

The lawsuit was brought by a dissident group that was evicted from its synagogue in December after a long-running court battle with the dominant congregation in the Satmar Hasidic community.

According to court papers, the group, known as Bais Yoel Ohel Feige, applied in February to argue why it should be allowed back in its synagogue.

Two months later, four Zoning Board members met on a Sunday night to hear the matter. And for 90 minutes, none of them spoke, except to spell their names, according to the meeting transcript; lawyers and the village administrator did all the talking.

That the four men were also said to be Planning Board members violates a 1997 court order that settled a previous dispute between a dissident congregation and village authorities.

Read The Full Story At The Times Herald Record Website.

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