Ramapo Approves Golf Rate Increase and Karben’s Synagogue Requests

BY EVAN WECHMAN

This past Monday, February 6, 2012 at Ramapo Town Hall, a public hearing was on the agenda regarding the new Spook Rock Golf Course. Though there were some members of the community present, there were no residents who spoke during this portion of the meeting.

Dan Covert, deputy director of Ramapo Parks and Recreation delivered a short presentation which recommended an increase in golf fees for the senior citizens of the town. Covert asked the board to consider an increase for senior citizens from $18 to $20 on Monday through Wednesday.

The Thursday through Sunday rates would now be changed from $26 to $28 for senior golfers. Covert commented that it costs far more to run the operations of the course and therefore a quick perusal of basic economics would lead to the conclusion that “Spook Rock would go out of business,” if rates remained the same. He also added that the rise in fees was due to the lack of people using the golf course from outside Ramapo, who in turn could be charged higher fees.

Councilman Pat Withers, a liason to the golf committee, acknowledged that he was aware of the problem and that it was “unfortunate” that rates would be increased. However, he explained that his role was to serve all of the citizens in Ramapo and it was “logical to do this” since golfing is a “luxury,” rather than a “necessity.” Supervisor St. Lawrence also commented that there are “a lot of people who don’t play golf and they pay for the golf course.” Therefore, this was a “good compromise.”

Subsequently, the town board voted unanimously to approve the recommendations of the Parks and Recreation department.

On the following night, Tuesday February 7, 2012, there was also a public hearing on the agenda of the Ramapo Planning Board. Both Congregation Emek Tefilah and Congregation Yakov Pupa of Monsey were represented by former Assemblyman Ryan Karben who appeared before the board. Karben explained that the proposed site for Congregartion Emek Tefilah is 11 Calvert Drive in Monsey. He also stated they are seeking a “standard local house of worship” with a Rabbi’s residence for a congregation of 35 members. Karben added that there were no remaining problems and thus asked for a referral to the Ramapo Zoning Board of Appeals, which was unanimously granted.

Karben also sought final approval for Yakov Pupa which has 95 congregants, but is not asking for a residence. The Ramapo Planning Board thus voted unanimously to issue Final Site Plan Approval for this project. The site for this project is 7 Suzanne Drive, at the intersection of Leon Drive in Monsey. The planning board was concerned about potential parking problems but Karben confirmed the “site plan provides safe and adequate parking.” In both cases, no residents spoke concerning the synagogues.

It should be noted that both congregations appeared on December 28, 2011 in Ramapo before the Community Design Review Committee(CDRC). After the meeting, through written correspondence with Ryan Karben, it was made clear to the Rockland County Times that he represented Congregation Emek Tefilah. However, it was not made clear until this past meeting with the planning board that he represents Yakov Pupa as well.