ORANGETOWN, N.Y. -- A candidate for state office this week released a long list of things he says will improve quality of life for Rockland residents and protect them from unscrupulous real estate dealers and developers.
Tom DePrisco, a Pearl River resident and Republican candidate in the state’s 38th Senate District, is running against incumbent Democratic Sen. David Carlucci.
The 38th District covers the town of Orangetown, Clarkstown and Ramapo in Rockland, and Ossining and Briarcliff Manor in Westchester.
DePrisco said that concerns include: expected spikes in the population, “reported” building and code violations, and “blockbusting,” which is the practice of frightening homeowners into selling their properties on the cheap by raising the spectre of people of other classes or races moving into their neighborhoods.
DePrisco, a Brooklyn native who says he moved to Rockland to give his family a better life, said it’s a good thing when young families buy and maintain homes “in our diverse communities.”
But, he said, if homeowners are expected to “respect and obey all local laws and ordinances,” so should town officials, whether elected or appointed.
In his mind, DePrisco said, that means “uniformly enforcing existing zoning laws and land use regulations.”
“Unfortunately, there has been a history of repeated building and fire code violations and questionable zoning variance approvals in the Town of Ramapo,” DePrisco charged.
According to the candidate, who cited U.S. Census data, Ramapo’s population has ballooned way beyond rates seen in the rest of the county.
While average density in Rockland overall is 1,798 people per square mile, there are certain villages in Ramapo that are packing in between 16,434 and 27,497 residents, per square mile, DiPrisco said.
He added that, as the population rises, so do pressures on “infrastructure, water and sewage capacity, traffic congestion, emergency service response times, school district capacity and social services.”
After complaints about blockbusting skyrocketed in Rockland, town, county and state officials started getting involved, media reports said.
Both Clarkstown and Orangetown have created “do not knock” registries.
DePrisco, who said he experienced blockbusting in Brooklyn, slammed Carlucci for not being “aggressive” enough on the issue.
Also on DePrisco’s to-do list:
- Towns must uniformly enforce existing laws and utilize all legally available resources to address quality of life complaints.
- Residents should report suspected violations of law to the appropriate authorities.
- Towns should "expeditiously" propose and pass new town codes or amend codes when necessary.
- State officials should request the Secretary of State to halt unwarranted solicitations from real estate dealers.
- Towns should seek to attract tax generating properties.
- State officials must ensure fire inspection standards are as strict for private schools as they are for public schools.
- Residents should become more actively involved with local government by attending town board and community group meetings.
- Towns should establish a hotline that residents could call for recorded messages that discredit "rumors."