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Crowd shows up in support of Devany Rd. project’s builder

Derek Kirk
Posted 4/5/24

LIBERTY — With the stop-work order still in place for future construction on Devany Road, builder and owner Abraham Mizrahi was joined by a handful of supporters requesting the Town Board allow …

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Crowd shows up in support of Devany Rd. project’s builder


LIBERTY — With the stop-work order still in place for future construction on Devany Road, builder and owner Abraham Mizrahi was joined by a handful of supporters requesting the Town Board allow him permission to construct additional buildings. 

Currently, there are 10 two-family sized homes on the lot under construction. None however reside within the town water district.

The request followed the acceptance of a letter written by members and leadership of the Swan Lake Fire Department criticizing the location of the project’s driveways, claiming their current location potentially interferes with the department’s ability to protect against fires on the road. This letter echoes criticism of the project’s lack of water and sewer systems installed, among other issues, that have been vocalized over the past few weeks.

The project on Devany Road has seen controversy since its existence was brought to the attention of the Town Board a few weeks ago, as previously reported by the Democrat. At the time, opposition to the project claimed that proper permits for construction were grandfathered in, and that the Planning Board was never addressed prior to the beginning of the buildings’ installations.

As the conversation continued, those in opposition ensured that their protest of the construction was about making sure the town codes were being followed by everyone.

In his request, Mizrahi said that due to the subdivision’s history, the construction was allowed under town codes, however the code specifies that only single family homes are grandfathered in.  He also provided examples to the town of his work within the community since he began five years ago – including taking credit for a portion of the town’s financial status, details of which were discussed by Andrew Arias of Cooper Arias, LLC, in which the accountant said that the town’s financials were in “great shape.” He also said that there are six Synagogues in the town that pay taxes to the municipality as a result of his work.

Mizrahi also noted that his properties receive a lot of purchase offers from Brooklyn-based Hasidim, to which he turns down in the interest of building up Liberty locally.

A woman who introduced herself as Kasandra was joined by a crowd of workers who are employed by Mizrahi. She said that the builder has given the local Hispanic community many opportunities. 

She said that when she first visited the village of Liberty in 2022, she saw empty streets, gutted buildings and, ultimately, a “ghost town.” Since then, she said she has seen improvement to the town’s buildings and communities, and attributed that renewal to Mizrahi’s work.

To move towards unity and progress, Board Member Vince McPhillips suggested that leadership from all interested parties should hold a private meeting to discuss possible steps forward where all can benefit; an idea that was met with a round of applause from the crowd and agreement from all four of his fellow board members.

Language barrier

With the attendance of a crowd of non-English speaking Liberty residents at the meeting showing support for Mizrahi, County Legislator Luis Alvarez (District 6), joined by other bilingual town residents, addressed the board and the crowd in both English and Spanish on the growing need to break down any language barriers in the town.

Alvarez noted that in the religious communities, the number of Spanish speaking individuals is growing.

“There is a large increase of us, and we are concerned about our jobs,” Alvarez said. “We are concerned about our future – and our future is Liberty.”

Alvarez goes on to say, “We are the future, bear that in mind. Somewhere down the line, someone is going to have to be able to interpret what we are saying.”

Supervisor DeMayo responded, saying the Town Board has worked to support the community, especially recently in working in conjunction for the preparation of the upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebration. 

“The future of Liberty is being able to celebrate and embrace diversity,” DeMayo said. In diversity, the Supervisor noted that all things grow – including the economy, the businesses and the population.

“Whether it’s the Hasidic community, the Orthodox community, the Christian community, or the Latino community, the idea is to work together. And if there are challenges out there, we just need to come up with solutions,” the Supervisor said. 

As for an English/Spanish translator, DeMayo said that there are a number of bilingual individuals who the town would be interested in seeing volunteer to become a liaison between the board and the people, especially Kasandra.

“She was very articulate and bright,” DeMayo said. 

As for Devany Road, the Supervisor said that he knows there are challenges that have arisen in regards to the project, including legal ones. However, he noted that halting construction goes hand-in-hand with halting the local workforce – saying that “stopping construction means taking away jobs and livelihoods.”

“We are going to work on solutions,” he said. “That’s what we are going to do.”


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