Assemblyman Zebrowski Targets Illegal Housing And School Building Safety

Local Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski is again revisiting the illegal housing practices in Rockland County by reaching out to the New York Secretary of State and the commissioner of the State Education Department for immediate assistance on the long standing issue. In a letter to state Secretary Cesar Pereles earlier this month, Zebrowski explains that he toured some of the illegal construction projects in Spring Valley, Ramapo, New Hempstead, and Kaser which indicated single family homes converted into makeshift schools, multi-family homes, and places of worship. He, along with fire officials, witnessed multiple tents pitched in backyards which were being used as classrooms as well as extension cords linking building to building through trees and brush. Construction projects often commence without the approval of building permits or variances. In some cases, temporary certificates of occupancy are issued though they do not comply with local building and fire codes and are repeatedly re-approved. Zebrowski emphasized the prolonged unaddressed countywide issue which affects the safety of emergency responders who are called to one of these properties. Sixty of Rockland schools are missing fire safety reports, a state requirement to ensure the safety of a building. The Assemblyman uncovered this statistic and hopes to amend the new requirements of the Basic Education Data System Code to include those non-public schools who were exempt having fulfilled the statutes before the recent reforms. Zebrowski is pushing that in order for schools to receive their BEDS code, that they must submit their state issued certificate of occupancy, certificate of incorporation, and a fire inspection.

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