Sullivan County, NY – Orthodox Jewish Camp Told To Appear In Court To Face Code Violations

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    Sullivan County, NY – A Wawarsing, Orthodox Jewish girls’ day camp is being hauled into court on a certificate of occupancy violation following the discovery of 30 to 50 unsupervised children in the camp’s gymnasium by a code enforcement officer on July 14. The gym did not qualify for a proper certificate of occupancy because it has no attic ventilation or a sprinkler system.

    Camp Chaviva, located on Ulster Heights Road, was issued a summons by Code Enforcement Officer Daniel Pollan, who says he found and ushered the children out of the building, and told the camp owners to appear in court this Friday, according to a report by Record Online (http://bit.ly/2aOI8pb).

    “They are allowing children into this building without supervision when they know there’s no CO issued for the building,” Pollan exclaimed. “To me, that’s unsafe for children.”

    A longstanding clash between Pollan and Duane Roe, the camp’s contractor, had previously resulted in Pollan issuing a stop work order on the construction of two bunkhouses and delaying authorizations for the gym. Roe had begun construction on the bunkhouses before receiving permission from the planning board. Though the plans for the bunkhouses were later approved, Pollan says Roe continued constructing the edifices while the stop work order was still in effect.

    In May 2015, a building permit was issued for the gym by a different building inspector who granted the gym an exemption for not having a sprinkler system because it was supposed to be used “exclusively” for sports.

    However, the camp also placed a stage and classrooms in the gym building, rendering it a multi-use facility requiring a sprinkler system under state law. Roe also failed to install an attic ventilation shaft during the construction of the gym, adding to Pollan’s stance that a CO is not warranted for the gym and that the premises are unsafe. The bunkhouses also have a pending certificate of occupancy.

    Chaviva Properties’ owner, Aaron Munk, said, “The problem is, Ellenville doesn’t like development. That’s the bottom line.” He added that the camp was being targeted over “nonsense stuff.”

    “We’ve always proven ourselves to be on the up and up,” Munk said, noting Camp Chaviva is the sole Orthodox camp in the area with accreditation from the American Camp Association. He indicated he is hoping for a resolution with the town following Friday’s court appearance.

    As of Wednesday afternoon, the gym was not being used, but Pollan said the idea of children inside buildings without proper COs worries him, yet there’s only so much he can do. “To me, it’s an open and shut situation, but I’m not a judge, I’m not an attorney. I have no expertise in law,” Pollan said. “So I’m waiting to see what happens in court.”

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    37 COMMENTS

    1. I live in Sullivan County and I can testify that many of the Frum facilities are in such poor condition that I would not have allowed my children to use them. They always cry anti-Semitism. Not all facilities are bad. One of the best is the Bas Yaacov Camp on Stanton Corner Road

        • The kids urinate in the pools which is normal but the Rockland camps don’t check the chlorine levels ever. Some leave the chlorine in the sun instead of locking it up. The camps say the pool chemical rules are unrealistic and no kids are ever sick or burned. I wouldn’t let my fish swim in this dangerous water let alone a child.

    2. Truth be told, building codes, and all other laws were enacted for areilim only. This includes money laws, building laws, real estate laws, and everything else.
      To prosecute a Jew for violating any law is anti-Semitism; simple and plain…….(sic)

    3. Every summer we hear the same stories about one or more frum camps or bungalow colonies being cited for violation of fire codes, building codes or health rules. Sadly, it will probably take some major tragedy for yidden to wake up and demand the owners make the needed repairs or shut down these death traps. In any event, maybe step back and realize that there are so many options for kids in the city these days that running off to the mountains is no longer the necessity it was decades ago before the advent of universal air conditioning, dozens of parks, museums and recreational centers with special programs of kids etc. Stay home, stay safe and save money (not to even mention the bitul torah that mass migrations to the Mountains triggers).

    4. There is a time to cry antisemitism, and there is a time to smarten up. This time it’s time for the camp to fall into line and knock off the excuses and the blame game. The safety of the children is the only issue here. If the camp is in violation of safety rules, then they must obey the law. G-D forbid their is a fire, who will the camp then blame? Sorry to say it, but many times this segment of our people are their own worst enemies.

    5. I have very few of the facts, unlike all the other commenters. I can not even say that Mr. Pollan is not Jewish, it can be a Jewish name as well.
      I was a child when a frum yeshivah had a dorm fire. I do not know the facts now or then, I would hope we abide by best practices.

    6. Once upon a time there was an unsinkable ship that had few lifeboats and didn’t follow safety codes. Thousands of lives were lost when the ship went down. It was the Titanic. Same with the Triangle Fire. Now we have safety codes, on ships, buildings and camps. Somehow there’s only one particular group that hasn’t heard about these tragic events, or just does not care…

      • Do us a favor and delete your comment. Your comment was full of sense and wit. The commentators are not here to add wit but only stupidity. So please think before writing something that makes sense. It’s offensive to all the stupid people that read the comments.

      • Most from parents don’t care about camp safety or if the trees are healthy. Those rules are for goyim and if a tree falls on a child, the parent can always sue.

    7. yes there are some workers who might be anti semetic . yes there are some camps or colonies that might be in disrepair. however, the first and most important thing is safety. if a building is not up to code don’t let your child be in there. your children are more precious than diamonds yet people allow them in unsafe buildings, forget them in hot cars. what is going on????
      I truly believe that many year round locals get by without as many inspections as the town does to the ”summer folks” and that is not right. local people should have the same safety inspections and rules. try driving on a side street upstate and see some of the homes that many year round dwellers live in. they look like they could collapse if I huff and puff and blow it down.
      my main point is, keep your precious children safe. keep them supervised.
      thank you

    8. From the article it does not look like anyone here has all the facts. That being said I wouldn’t judge besides the fact that knowing a little about the ACA, if it were to be a camp that tries to cut corners they wouldn’t manage to get accredited.

      • Ever hear of cash payoffs? The Ramapo fire inspector took get and approved frum schools even though the doors were dead locked, no fire extinguishers, no alarm system, and exposed electrical outlets. Gelt can destroy an entire generation.

    9. We have found the Zika mosquito in Rockland and secular camps are taking all precautions, but frum camps refuse to follow the prevention rules which is a disaster in waiting. Also, most of our kinder are not immunized for measles, diptheria, chicken pox , mumps and polio, while the other camps require health examinations plus immunizations. What a shanda we allow to happen as we allow our kids to almost live in a 3rd world medical environment. African kids have better health precautions than many of ours.

      • It is amozing how much BS and how many lies you can write in one short comment.

        But if you hate frum Jews, it is not too hard to fabric such BS. Sounds like you are a result of pregnancy after a Zika mosquito bite.

        • I’m frum and there were no lies. Zika virus carrying mosquitos were found in Nyack. Why call someone you don’t know a self hating Jew? Secular camps require medical records on each camper with up to date immunizations. That’s a fact.

    10. I am a proud parent of camp chaviva and I know that everything that goes on there is done with das torah and according to halacha. They are equally as careful when it comes to legal matters. Something seems off as there is no conversation from the other side. Everyone should stop judging and start being dan lechaf zechus.

    11. WAWARSING — Even after a court appearance Friday, the Town of Wawarsing and owners of a girls summer camp are struggling to resolve a dispute over whether a gymnasium is up to code.

      The gymnasium at Camp Chaviva was built according to a 2015 building permit approved by former Wawarsing building inspector Bryant Arms. The permit did not require the building to have a sprinkler system, citing a code exception in place for buildings used exclusively for participant sports. Current code enforcement officer Daniel Pollan has refused to issue a certificate of occupancy for the multi-purpose gymnasium without a sprinkler system. When Pollan found the building in use one day last month, he issued a summons ordering camp owner Aaron Munk to court.

      Jeff Kaplan, the attorney assisting Camp Chaviva with its planning board approvals, said after court Friday morning that the whole situation is something that should not have ended up in court. Camp Chaviva, an Orthodox Jewish camp accredited by the American Camp Association, is a well-run camp and they do good construction, Kaplan said. The building department has changed positions since the permit was issued, and that’s not fair to Camp Chaviva, Kaplan said.

      “They want to follow the rules, but (town officials) keep changing the rules,” Kaplan said.

      Pollan has also cited a lack of attic ventilation as a reason to deny a CO. The ventilation was included in the blueprint approved by the former building inspector, Pollan said. Kaplan did not know details about the ventilation, but he said if the building department had simply requested a ventilation shaft, Chaviva could have accommodated that.

      Contractor Duane Roe said the gymnasium was built to the specifications approved in the original building permit. Roe said that Pollan, a code enforcement officer rather than a building inspector, isn’t qualified to inspect structures and change requirements. Roe called into question Pollan’s connections with the camp, pointing out that Pollan worked security at Camp Chaviva last summer and there were no problems, and now that he no longer works there, he has issued multiple stop work orders.

      Pollan did not initially disclose that he worked at the camp, but Friday he said he always works two jobs, and inspecting someone he worked for causes no conflict.

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