AG claims Town of Chester, Orange County discriminating against Hasidic community

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The state attorney general is getting involved in a housing lawsuit in Orange County.

State Attorney General Letitia James claims the Town of Chester and Orange County are discriminating against the Hasidic community.

In a "motion to intervene" in a lawsuit against the town and county, James alleges "The Town of Chester and County of Orange, through their officials, have engaged in a concerted, systematic effort to prevent Hasidic Jewish families from moving into the Town in violation of the Fair Housing Act."

The property in question is "The Greens," a 117-acre plot of land off Route 94 in Chester where the population of 24,000 residents in Kiryas Joel is looking to expand. Some residents in the neighboring condos do not want the Hasidic community moving in.

"They don't pay taxes like we do. It's like they're above the law on everything. They keep expanding and expanding and my taxes keep going up and theirs just stay as low as they possibly can. It's not fair," says Sue Madrous.

Others hope they'll integrate into the rest of the community in Chester.

"I have no problem with it. I am Jewish…As long as they're where they are supposed to be and they mix in with the community and it doesn't become another KJ," says George Pardes.

James claims that local officials have put in barriers for the developers. For example, getting the appropriate sewage lines through the county and a water supply permit.
News 12 reached out to Orange County, which said The Greens property is not even in the county sewer district so it would not be getting county sewer.

The county also says it was the constituents who brought up concerns about the water quality, so it asked the state to review the permit for The Greens. The county says the attorney general has not actually identified a single permit being withheld by the county.

News 12 reached out to the Town of Chester for a comment but has not heard back.


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