About The Village
The Village of Pomona was formed on February 3, 1967 to fulfill the vision of a close-knit community vested in their rural roots.
During the early 1960s the owner of approximately 300 acres of land on Cheesecote Mountain petitioned the Town of Haverstraw for a zone change. They requested an apartment zone. Two to three thousand apartments could be built. The property was zoned for one-acre lots. Faced with the end of their lifestyle they coveted and the necessity of building several new schools the community mobilized. Jan Van den Hende and Leon Klingher came up with the plan to form a village. Harold Lazaar, Norma and Renee Becker, Milton Chamberlin, Adelaide Smith, Artie Karp, Arnold Friedman and many others aided them in the effort. Burgess Meredith offered to run a horse show on his property to provide the seed money for the legal fees and other expenses. The publicity for this event helped encourage neighbors to join in this effort and also gave the credence and respect for this position.
Although the Village, after considerable litigation was incorporated in February 1967, the officials of the Town of Haverstraw, which opposed our efforts, were able, under the New York State Law, to control the existing zoning for one year. However, they could not change the zoning for one-acre lots. The owner applied to the Town of Haverstraw planning Board for one-acre residential lots. They were granted a subdivision of 278 lots, each on one acre. All lots being built today on Cheesecote Mountain are subject to the regulations approved on this subdivision.
The first elected officials were Jan Van den Hende, Mayor, Edward Mabley, Deputy Mayor, and Joe Carberry, Lewis Bostick and Harold Lazaar, Trustees. Milton Chamberlain was appointed Village Clerk-Treasurer. Village officials kept taxes low and supported the rural independent character of villagers coveted. After several peaceful years, a developer purchased the land between New and Old Route 202. He proposed condominiums, a village green, low-income housing, stores, almost anything but one-acre residential one-family homes zoned. Al Litman and a committee of neighbors battled proposals. Ultimately, they built as single homes on Jade, Emerald and Opal Courts, which were built as single homes rather than as originally proposed by the developer. Again, a storm gathered. A developer took an option to develop the Patrick Farm property on Routes 202 and 306, alongside the Village. Proposal was for a self-contained adult community, with a motel, car wash, 100 stores, condominiums, etc. Although this was not in the Village, the community mobilized, and decided to try to annex the property to the Village to prevent the down zoning. Thanks to Paul Kahn, Esq. and committee of residents, in and outside the Village, the project was abandoned.
In 1982, 18 years after the formation of the Village, a new storm brewed. The owners of the property outside the Village, across from Pacesetter shopping center, applied to the Town of Haverstraw for a zone change-industrial to commercial. On the drawing board was a 250,000 square foot shopping center. While the property is in both the Town of Haverstraw and the Town of Ramapo, not in the Village of Pomona, it is near enough to bring about undesirable changes. As the property was not in the Village, the Village did not take action. Mel Klingher, Herbert Marshall, and Al Appel ran for the Village Board in a write-in campaign, as they wanted the Village to be actively involved in opposing this massive shopping center. After numerous court appearances, Judge Kelly validated the election results for all three. A petition was filed to annex the property of the Village. After many years in the courts, the annexation petition was denied.
The Village of Pomona is zone entirely for residential one-family homes. Zoning is 40,000 square feet with sewers and 80,000 square feet without sewers. Half the Village in the Town of Haverstraw, the other half, in the Town of Ramapo.
The Village has acquired, over the years, five parks. Three active, the others passive, to be left forever green. Most properties are in the East Ramapo School District, a few on Cheesecote Mountain are in the North Rockland School District.
Contributed by Eloise Litman, Village Historian