Editor's note: New York State Assemblyman Colin J. Schmitt (R-New Windsor) sent a letter to Attorney General Letitia James on Jan. 6 urging her to visit the 99th Assembly District following her recent intervention on behalf of a private developer in an ongoing federal litigation against the Town of Chester and Orange County. Read the letter below:
Attorney General James:
The recent legal intervention by your office into an ongoing federal lawsuit involving the Town of Chester and County of Orange on behalf of a private housing developer in my Assembly District has caused a great deal of concern among local residents and leaders.
Not only does your invention threaten local zoning authority, but it does not take into account the full scope of what is occurring in Chester and surrounding communities.
The project in question has had long term opposition from the local community, dating back over two decades when the project was under different ownership.
The efforts to preserve the rural character of the Chester community, which are referenced in legal intervention documents, also predates any current ownership of the involved project and the current federal lawsuit.
The district I represent has for years faced significant housing discrimination related issues that have been ignored by the Attorney General’s office. These numerous concerns spanning several municipalities involve consistent, pervasive violations of both federal and state law, including the fair housing act.
Given how critical these concerns are I would like to invite you to visit my Assembly District and meet with me and a diverse group of local residents who can share their concerns and experiences directly with you and your staff.
Many of our joint constituents have felt ignored for far too long by those with the legal authority to intervene and assist all residents of our area. This reality has only been exacerbated by the recent legal actions taken by your office.
I hope you will join me so that you and your staff can gather a full understanding of the true housing discrimination related issues that we have been dealing with for years in my district, and the desire to preserve the rural character of our communities and protect our natural resources.
I can be reached at 845-469-6929 to arrange your visit.
Colin J. Schmitt
Member of Assembly, 99th District