News & Notices
COVID-19 Zoning/Code Enforcement Issue
We understand there has been much conjecture and rumor regarding a Zoning/Code Enforcement issue within the confines of our Town. We acknowledge and share your concerns and appreciate your attempts to have the situation resolved through the enforcement of local and state regulations by the local and state agencies that are sworn to uphold them. We are at an impasse and wanted to share with you all the jarring picture of our predicament.
For some perspective: New York is a Municipal Home Rule state, with each local government developing and codifying laws appropriate to the unique character of their area. Local laws include zoning, indemnification, parking, etc. and are filed with the Department of State. This laws do not discriminate, and neither should their enforcement (or lack thereof).
The Code Enforcement office of the Town of Highland was made aware of a unique situation at a property within the confines of the Town, on or about July 9, 2020. The property has a special use permit under our Local Zoning Law to operate as a Family Resort Bar/Lounge/Restaurant (issued 7.1.2015). Code Enforcement notified the NYS Department of Health (DOH), whose agents were denied entry to the property, twice. It was acknowledged by NYS DOH that the property had no appropriate DOH operating permit for their allowable use(s). NYS DOH is currently “poised to issue a cease and desist order,” with which the town Code Enforcement Officer will assist. Additionally, NYS DOH was notified that a day camp is operating on the site, which there is neither application nor permit for.
As a Town we have heard your concerns and responded; our efforts have been guided by the desire to protect the health and safety of the residents, visitors, property owners and employees of the Town by enforcing the rules and regulations codified in our Local Law, the laws of New York State, and the Executive Orders issued during the Coronavirus Pandemic, as we have sworn to do. We consulted with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department and the Acting District Attorney, asked for the assistance of our Assemblywoman and State Senator, and the violations and quality of life complaints continue to mount.
Governor Cuomo issued orders to Stop the Spread and Flatten the Curve; he urged us to be New York Tough and we dutifully followed. Local businesses who followed the rules and abided by both the shutdown and parameters of the phased reopening outlined in NY Forward continue to struggle, while ONE openly flaunts their disobedience and disregard for their neighbors.
We urge you to join your voices with ours to in demanding compliance with local laws and executive orders:
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther’s Office: 845.794.5807
Senator Jen Metzger’s Office: 845.292.0215
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Office: 518.474.8390
and by notifying the New York State Police 845.292.6600, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office 845.794.7100, or Town of Highland Constabulary 845.557.3489 of any quality of life violations (noise, illegal fireworks, etc).
The Town of Highland Board
Cc: Governor Andrew Cuomo
Howard Zucker, MD Commissioner NYS DOH
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther
Sen. Jen Metzger
Chairman Robert Doherty, Sullivan County Legislature
Acting District Attorney Meagan Galligan
Joshua Potosek, County Manager
Sheriff Michael Schiff
Major James C. Michael, Troop F Commander