White Lake, NY – Judge Orders Town to Permit Work on Shul

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    Learning outside of the shulWhite Lake, NY – The Town of Bethel and a Hasidic group continue to fight over a controversial shul on Schultz Road — and a judge was once again called on Thursday to end a standoff between the two sides.

    Attorneys gathered before Judge Frank LaBuda, who previously allowed the group to use the building for the summer after touring the facility in July.

    Once again, LaBuda sided with the United Talmudical Academy, ordering the town to lift the stop-work order and allow the group to finish work on the shul and community center.

    LaBuda’s decision allows the group to meet an Aug. 28 deadline to meet stormwater standards, for which the Department of Environmental Conservation has cited UTA.

    Bethel issued a stop-work order on Aug. 7, saying the UTA was using a mikvah — a ritual bath — and bathrooms that were deemed off-limits, and was doing work in the parking lot.

    In July, LaBuda allowed the UTA to use the upper floors of the building for six weeks for religious purposes only, but not the lower floor. Attorney Henri Shawn, who represents the UTA, asked the judge to lift the latest order. He argued the town wasn’t letting the group finish the project.

    While granting them the use of the building and saying they can continue working, LaBuda ordered the UTA to submit plans certified by an engineer by Sept. 30. The town says plans the UTA has filed are inadequate.

    LaBuda will later decide if the project needs Planning Board oversight. The town wants the UTA to submit an engineering report and do traffic and other environmental studies, said Bethel Supervisor Daniel Sturm.

    The controversy has prompted Bethel to conduct an internal probe of its building department. Town attorneys believe building inspector Tim Dexter made a mistake in granting a building permit. Sturm said that investigation should be completed in a week.

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    6 COMMENTS

    1. The fact is that the lower floor (basement) that houses the Mikvah , WAS NOT
      USED AT ALL!

      Poor Dan Sturm would come personally every day including his off days,
      Saturday & Sunday with his Camera, in the hope of getting a picture of the
      mikvah being used , he was unsuccessful, as we did not use the mikveh.

      The Stop order was issued so that we shouldn’t be able to complete the
      parking lot.

      Don’t you find it crazy that the town was against using the shul because the
      parking area was unsafe, but then issued a Stop order to prevent us to
      finish the parking area?

      Did you see in this article any mention of unsafe conditions? NO because
      there isn’t any.

      Why don’t you take a drive down to this shul & see for yourself, and you
      will see that those reports are all filled with lies and inaccuracies?

      Again Judge LaBuda saw through this bluff & directed the town to stop
      harassing us.

      Why don’t you think that the judge would rather please the town population
      who vote ,then the Hasidim who(till now) didn’t vote in Bethel at all?

      The following is a direct quote from the media when describing how the
      celebrated (??) Woodstock saga came to Bethel. (GOOGLE Bethel stop work
      order)
      ———————————————————————–
      In late July,(1969) Woodstock Ventures obtained permit approvals from Bethel
      Town Attorney Frederick W.V. Schadt and building inspector Donald Clark.
      But, under orders from the town board, Clark never issued them. The board
      ordered Clark to post stop-work orders; the promoters tore the signs down
      with Clark’s tacit approval. He felt he was being made the fall guy for the
      town.
      —————————————————————————-

      so it seems that this is how the Town Board & Supervisor from Betel have
      been operating way before hasidim came here, its just a case of history
      repeating itself, this is exactly what happened with this shul.

      1) We applied for a permit, we received a permit with the approval of the
      Town Supervisor Dan Sturm , as was testified under oath in Judge Labuda’s
      courtroom on July 24,2009

      2) according to the Town of Bethel zoning code in effect at the time the
      permit was issued, this building DID NOT NEED ZONING BOARD APPROVAL , again,
      this was testified under oath,

      Poor Mr. Dexter , the building inspector is being made the fall guy for the
      town ,because he stood up for what is right,

    2. this story in no way resembles the fiasco that was apparent in the Skver situation
      this could be a story that happens all the time with new envelopment. Either the local building department is over zealous. Or maybe he asked for a bribe and someone refused.

      Or an honest dispute that happened over minor matters

      • This proves the point that in the end the Judge (in the Homowack case) will say that Skver is right and the locals who try to make trumped up complaints were wrong.

        These kind of things happen very often and is very typical of the problem unjustly thrown at Skever.

        • the judge threw them out he made his decision.

          I do not get what you are saying, his decision showed the Skver where wrong or are you predicting the future and thinking Frum-innocent

        • The Bethel case PROVES the Skver/Homowack case??? The judge will say that the complaints against Skver were trumped up??? Egads! We have a Navi in our midst.

          The two cases are totally dissimilar: one is about new construction and the other about deteriorating old construction. Why don’t you calm down and let events play themselves out. Stop trying to predict the future. You can’t.

          Judge LaBuda appears to be a jurist of integrity and seichel. G-d willing, the case will come to a conclusion satisfactory to the UTA.

          It appears that the judge in the Homowack case is also dependable and can be trusted to do the right thing. And in the end, the right thing just might not be what Skver would like. But I am not a Navi and therefore not silly enough to try to predict the outcome.

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