Neighbors File Suit to Prevent Expansion of Synagogue in Affluent Residential Area of Lawrence

Monday, September 14, 2015

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK — Ten years ago, the Village of Lawrence Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) placed a covenant on the synagogue limiting its operations to only weekend religious services, but, recently, the ZBA granted Bais Medrash a one-year trial, allowing the place to expand its services to weekdays.

Christian Browne, a Partner with Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC, has announced that he has filed an Article 78 proceeding against the ZBA to prevent the unrestricted use of a synagogue in a purely residential area.
The Bais Medrash synagogue, which currently owns three properties, sought to convert one of its properties — located in an affluent residential area — into a parking lot for its members, but the Village denied that request.
Mr. Browne, representing several neighbors who reside near the synagogue, filed an Article 78 proceeding against the Village, arguing that the ZBA does not have the power to provide for a one-year trial and there was no justification in lifting the covenants to allow for the trial period.
“The village went beyond the scope of its powers in lifting the covenants,” Mr. Browne said. “There was no reason to grant the unrestricted use for the synagogue, which will negatively impact where they live. We will prove that the village did not follow the law.”
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