June 1 demonstration at proposed chicken factory
BY ROBERT KNIGHT
ROCKLAND COUNTY TIMES
Rockland County residents are expected to turnout in force June 1 to protest the impending construction of a massive chicken slaughterhouse proposed for a vacant site on Route 45 in New Hempstead, at the border of New Square. The massive show of force is planned for 2 p.m. that Sunday at the site, immediately north of a New Square catering hall, about a block north of the Route 45 traffic light at the entrance to the Hasidic Ramapo village.
Area residents of New Hempstead, Pomona, Hillcrest, Spring Valley and New City have been protesting the plans for the slaughterhouse for several years, but apparently to little avail, as opponents say the plans are progressing to the point where actual construction may soon begin.
The land has long been cleared for construction to start, with the only holdup apparently being some construction and financing details that have yet to be approved by various governmental agencies.
“Please join us for a public demonstration to show our support for Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski’s efforts to get a $1.6 million state grant (for this project) rescinded,” a recently distributed flyer throughout the county implores.
The flyer explains that New Square was approved for the state grant some time ago by New York’s Empire State Development Corporation, a quasi-public state agency which funds private construction projects around the state in the name of positive economic growth and development.
The grant was approved, the flyer says, “despite the fact that the chicken slaughterhouse project has not received (needed) approvals from the Rockland County or Ramapo Planning Departments.”
“The proposed slaughterhouse (on Route 45) is right at the border of New Square, across the street from houses in the Village of New Hempstead.”
“State tax dollars should not be used to build a slaughterhouse in a residential area to produce kosher poultry for members of the Skverer Hasidic sect,” the flyer asserts, explaining that the factory would contain 26,000 square feet of space in a residential area and stand less than 100 feet from neighboring upscale homes.
“New Square is part of the Town of Ramapo,” the flyer continues, “which has some jurisdiction over New Square. (Yet) New Square is also an incorporated village, which means it has the power over its zoning and municipal code and if given a state grant is likely to build the slaughterhouse despite the concerns of its neighbors.”
The flyer urges residents from throughout the area and all of Rockland County to come to the June 1 demonstration “to hear what your elected representatives have to say about this proposal and by your presence demonstrate your opposition to a project which will collapse property values in Rockland County.
A list of potential officials and speakers at the rally was not included with the flyer, but it promised that information would follow shortly.
The flyer also did not identify its sponsor, other than the tagline “Preserve Rockland” in capital letters.