Last night’s meeting of the Rockland County Legislature ended on an inconclusive vote. Though the legislature is fast approaching the February 14th deadline to pass a local law enabling the takeover of the Spring Valley Building Department, no vote was cast during their last meeting for the month of January.
Only weeks remain until the state’s unprecedented order that the county government assume control of the building inspections and fire code enforcement for the village of Spring Valley takes effect. The drastic order was issued by the state after years of mismanagement of code at the village level and following a deadly fire last March at Evergreen Nursing Home. Six persons were arrested following the fire, including two Spring Valley inspectors and two lives were lost in the blaze, volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd and resident Oliver Hueston.
Chairman Jay Hood Jr. said during the meeting that the legislature needs to review the constitutionality of the change. “Even if we vote two weeks from now, Ed Day has promised to be ready to go. So, not losing any time whatsoever,” said Hood.
Executive Day shares the chairman’s conviction, and in a statement sent to the Rockland County Times wrote: “To clarify, the issues brought up during last night’s meeting of the Rockland County Legislature will not in any way delay our ability to assume the duties of the Spring Valley Building Department on February
14, 2022. I have been reassured by County Legislature Chairman Jay Hood that a vote on the Local Law necessary to enable this take over will be held during their next meeting, which is currently scheduled for Tuesday, February 1, 2022.”
Representatives from several local advocacy groups dedicated to enforcing local zoning codes expressed frustration at the delay.
Heather Federico, who spoke on behalf of COUPON (Citzens United to Protect our Neighborhood) told the legislature, “we are problem finders and solvers in this arena and when there are obstacles that prevent us from doing that we make it known, we don’t want to identify you as an obstacle so please help us.”