Thursday, July 20, 2017




Deal to create Town of Palm Tree to go before Orange County legislators, maybe Monroe voters

MONROE – A deal that will end a lawsuit over the Village of Kiryas Joel’s efforts to annex 164 acres of Monroe town land into the village has been agreed upon by village officials and leaders of two local citizens groups that have opposed the proposal.

United Monroe and Preserve Hudson Valley have been against the annexation and another, much larger proposal, to annex 507 acres into the village.

This deal will allow creation of the new town, the Town of Palm Tree, with 56 acres of Monroe town land and Kiryas Joel.

Legislature Chairman Stephen Brescia said Wednesday that the deal appears to be “the most palatable” solution for all involved.

“I’m hot and cold,” Brescia said. “One day I feel optimistic and the next day I feel they have too many concerns.”

County Executive Steven Neuhaus said the plan will need a two-thirds vote of approval by the county legislature.

“They are not going to do that until they see some local support, local mayors and supervisors,” Neuhaus said. “If they come out in favor of this, that is how the legislature will have more buy in and go to the voters.”

He noted it will be up to the voters of the Town of Monroe to give the final approval.

If the legislature approves, it would go before Monroe voters on November 7.

The agreement would require withdrawal of KJ’s appeal to annex 507 acres and withdrawal of Preserve Hudson Valley’s appeal of the 164 annexation approvals.  It would require that the boundaries of the school districts of KJ and Monroe-Woodbury be altered to conform with the new boundaries.  It would prohibit Kiryas Joel and the new town from approving or supporting annexations from Monroe or Blooming Grove for 10 years and prohibit KJ and the new town from encouraging or assisting in the formation of any new villages for 10 years after the commencement of the new town.

The county legislature will conduct two public hearings on the proposal on August 15 and 16 and vote on the plan at its September meeting.

Brescia said at this point, he is unsure if it will get the super-majority two-thirds margin.

KJ Village Administrator Gedalye Szegedin said, “The KJ leadership is willing to go out of its comfort zone to usher in an era of peace and harmony in the Monroe/KJ areas.”


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