Orange is the new bloc in Orangetown

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Hundreds gather in support of “no knock” law

BY KATHY KAHN
Massive showing in support of brand new Preserve Orangetown
Massive showing in support of brand new Preserve Orangetown on Thursday

The organizers of the newly formed Preserve Orangetown grassroots advocacy group took their cue from Preserve Ramapo.

Thursday evening, May 12,  Preserve Orangetown held its first organizational meeting at the Elks Lodge in Nanuet. Many were told about the meeting but organizers didn’t anticipate the  more than 600 residents showing up, filling the Elks Lodge to capacity and spilling onto the sidewalks surrounding it, straining to hear what was being said.

Catalyzing the movement was a recent spate of Hasidic and Orthodox men knocking on doors in Orangetown and offering cash for homes. As a result of the backlash, residents have a new “no knock” law for door-to-door solicitation  to protect them from such realtors who want to buy their homes, no questions asked. The fear is such peddlers will buy up entire neighborhoods.

The message of the meeting at the Elks? Simple. If Orangetown residents like their lifestyle, want to live in peace with neighbors and not have bloc voting going on to circumvent the wishes of the community, they must create their own bloc—one made up of residents who like Orangetown just the way it is, want to have a voice in its future and do not want another Christopher St. Lawrence at the helm of the community.

To circumvent the realtors and developers who are cruising Orangetown’s neighborhoods with offers of a cash buyout, the “No Knock” law was instituted last month, and Supervisor Andy Stewart told residents it is going to be enforced.

Rockland is host to one of the most financially stressed towns in the New York-Ramapo—and those outside of it who are watching the daily reports of corruption, FBI raids and federal indictments do not want it to spread further. “You are not powerless,” County Executive Ed Day told residents. “Your vote is your power. Stay informed, go out and vote and cherish your right to do it.”

Organizers were overwhelmed but thrilled with the turnout, asking all attending to e-mail at least 10 of their friends with information about the formation of Preserve Orangetown.  Many were hesitant to speak to media or to give their names, fearing their words might be skewed.

“We want our elected officials to do it right, to vote in the town’s best interests, not in their own personal interests or for their own personal gain,” said one woman leaving the meeting. “I love it here, we’ve got great families of all religions and nationalities—we have a great school district and parks we are proud of– and I don’t our town to end up another Ramapo.”

Its Facebook page, Preserve Orangetown, already has over 2,000 members.

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