Federal lawsuit claims Catskills town discriminated against Hasidic developers

After a property was sold to Hasidic developers, the town suddenly created unusual procedural hurdles, allegedly fearing an influx of Hasidic residents

Dam on the Rio Reservoir in Forestburgh, NY. Credit: Steve Guttman/Flickr

Jan 22, 2024 2:30 PM


A federal lawsuit filed last December alleged that a Sullivan County town showed anti-Hasidic bias in attempting to prevent Hasidic developers from building a 2,600-home residential community, the Times Herald-Record reported.

According to the lawsuit, the town of Forestburgh denied building permits, imposed exorbitant new fees, and created unusual procedural hurdles for Hasidic developers — even though the town supported a similar development on the same property when initially proposed by a Texas developer in 2011. After the property was sold to Hasidic developers, the town appeared to change its stance, allegedly fearing an influx of Hasidic residents. Finally, in November, the town instituted a zoning change that, the suit claims, sought to nullify the development’s approval status.

This is the developers’ second lawsuit against the town of Forestburgh. In the first one, the plaintiffs — with support from Agudath Israel of America — objected to having had their building permits denied.

The town of Forestburgh is a short drive from the towns of Thompson and Fallsburg and the village of Bloomingburg, which have large Hasidic communities.