Rockland County Sues Landowner to Get Health Code Compliance

BY JOEL GROSSBARTH

Lately much of the news regarding Rockland County’s attempts to get code compliance addressed lawsuits involving building and zoning codes. Now, Rockland County has gone to Court asking a judge to force a property owner to allow an inspection to determine if public health and safety issues are present at a residential home. The property in question is alleged to be owned by Moshe Altman as Trustee of BSD Trust and is located at 230-232 Bates Drive in Monsey, New York.

According to legal papers filed by Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, the Rockland County Commissioner of Health, a complaint was received by the Rockland County Health Department claiming there were numerous housing code violations that if true, would constitute a public health nuisance and conditions detrimental to the public.

The lawsuit alleges that Health Department personnel have attempted to inspect the property but have been “unable to gain access to determine if [the property] is in violation of the New York State Public Health Law, New York State Sanitary Code and the Rockland County Sanitary Code.” Commissioner Schnabel-Ruppert states that under New York Stat Public Health Law she is required to enforce the provisions of State and local laws.

It is further alleged that if the County Health Department has continued to be denied access to the property, the property will continue to be operated in violations of the aforementioned laws. The lawsuit requests that a Rockland County Supreme Court Judge authorize and direct the County Health Department to enter the property to determine if health or sanitary violations are present.

The property owner has retained attorney Dennis E.A. Lynch who not only has denied the allegations of the Commissioner but has submitted counterclaims alleging that the County has infringed upon the property owner’s constitutional rights of unlawful search and seizure and claims $1,500,000.00 in monetary damages.

The matter has been assigned to Judge Paul Marx who will ultimately determine whether the County has alleged sufficient probable cause to issue a warrant for entry of the property for the purposes of an inspection.