NEW CITY – Last week the Rockland County Office of Buildings and Codes and Center for Rockland Codes Investigations came across another unlawfully converted firetrap; a 2-family home in the Village of Spring Valley with 25 beds.
Rockland County, while beautiful, is suburban and does not have the infrastructure to support rapid population growth and is already tackling a severe housing crisis that includes a shortage of safe and affordable units. This has led to overcrowding in 1 and 2 family homes, which are not subject to mandatory code enforcement inspections, as unscrupulous landlords take advantage of both new legal migrants and the undocumented.
This is predominantly why the County of Rockland is fighting the City of New York attempting to shift its jurisdiction’s Sanctuary City duty to Rockland, the smallest County in the State of New York, which is already being strained by the natural migration of people resettling here.
Quadrupling our homeless population overnight, as the City of New York’s decompression strategy would undoubtedly do, would only compound this crisis which claimed five lives back in March. That home also had about two dozen people living inside.
“New York City Mayor Eric Adams neither knows nor cares about our very well-documented housing crisis. A crisis so extreme that Rockland has been unprecedently deputized by the State of New York to take over Building and Fire Code enforcement in the Village of Spring Valley,” said County Executive Ed Day. “If justices do not act appropriately, we will only see more of this.”
The City of New York recently filed a motion to move the County of Rockland’s lawsuit challenging the City’s authority to break New York State Social Services laws to a New York City judge. This week the City of New York also requested Judge Thomas Zugibe adjourn the County’s preliminary injunction hearing Thursday until after that motion to change the venue of our lawsuit is decided.
Within an hour, and without speaking to the County, which is the plaintiff in the case, Judge Zugibe granted the adjournment, allowing a New York City judge to decide if they’d like to preside over the case moving forward without ruling on the County’s request for a preliminary injunction first and leaving that request in the New York City judge’s hands.
The County of Rockland is now urging Judge Zugibe to withdraw the adjournment for the County’s preliminary injunction and continue presiding over a case that will significantly impact the County he swore to serve. Preliminary injunctions have already been granted in similar cases in Orange County and the Town of Orangetown.
“What justice can we reasonably expect from New York City? I firmly believe a case that is about Rockland should be adjudicated and decided by judges elected by Rockland,” said County Executive Day. “If not, this latest case of overcrowding is foreshadowing the future of Rockland and the danger facing our residents, visitors, and first responders.”