New City, NY – In a bold move, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Orangetown Town Supervisor have announced decisive enforcement actions against the Armoni Inn & Suites Hotel in Orangeburg and the City of New York. The legal battle stems from the City’s recent announcement to house over 300 migrants in the hotel, an action that directly violates the local zoning laws set by the town. In response, the town swiftly filed a lawsuit and obtained a Temporary Restraining Order on Tuesday, as ruled by a judge.
The City of New York’s plan to utilize the Armoni Inn & Suites Hotel in Orangeburg as temporary housing for migrants over the course of four months has raised serious concerns among local authorities. The move is seen as a violation of the town’s local laws pertaining to zoning codes and property usage. Supervisor Kenny of Orangetown emphasized, “The legal status of these individuals is irrelevant to this lawsuit. This has to do with zoning codes and legal use of this property.”
Rockland County, renowned for its natural beauty, is primarily suburban and lacks the necessary infrastructure to support rapid population growth. Moreover, the county is grappling with a severe housing crisis, marked by a shortage of safe and affordable units. This situation has led to overcrowding as unscrupulous landlords exploit both legal migrants and undocumented residents.
County Executive Day highlighted the tragic consequences of this housing crisis, citing a devastating fire in March that claimed the lives of five people, including two children, who were residing in an overcrowded two-family home in Spring Valley. Day further revealed that during a recent call with County Executives, Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration expressed their lack of awareness regarding the City of New York’s decompression plan. The governor’s administration confirmed that they do not endorse or support the plan, but instead advocate for collaboration with the city to identify suitable locations within its boundaries to shelter migrants as they await legal work status.
It is crucial to note that the hotel permit for Armoni Inn & Suites in Orangeburg expired on April 30th, 2023, and the hotel should not be in operation until the permit is reissued by the Rockland County Department of Health. However, the pending litigation has put the permit renewal on hold. Additionally, due to the County of Rockland’s declaration of a State of Emergency, the establishment must now obtain a license under the Emergency Order before the renewal can be granted.
Furthermore, the County of Rockland has filed a lawsuit seeking a Temporary Restraining Order against the City of New York, challenging the city’s authority to establish a shelter outside its own boundaries. The lawsuit also underscores the City of New York’s failure to adhere to the rules and regulations set by the state for establishing a shelter, including site plans, approvals, and inspections. While the mayor has issued an executive order to expedite the process within his boroughs, he lacks the authority to do so in Rockland County. Any attempt to set up a shelter in the county must go through the state, which, as County Executive Day mentioned, does not support such a move.
In a concerning development, it has come to light that the City’s contracted operator for these shelters, DocGo, is actively searching for alternative commercial spaces to accommodate migrants. The operator recently approached a hotel in Nyack with a similar proposal.
County officials firmly emphasize that New York City does not possess the authority to dictate the placement of migrants in Rockland County or the Town of Orangetown, especially when both entities have explicitly communicated their lack of infrastructure to handle such a responsibility.
“This is a home rule state and New York City does not have the authority over this County or Town to volunteer us for placement, especially when we are telling them we do not have the infrastructure to help,” concluded Day.