An estimated 1,000 people packed a banquet hall for the meeting
(Photo: Jim Lennon)
KIRYAS JOEL – The Monroe Town Board Tuesday night approved the annexation of 164 acres of land to the Village of Kiryas Joel. Members opted for the smaller number of acres rather than the larger proposal of a 507-acre annexation.
The vote was 4-1, with the dissent coming from Dennis McWatters.
Area residents opposed both proposals believing they would change the face of the area by placing an undue burden on the resources.
Kiryas Joel officials felt residents of the proposed annexed land have a right to join the Hasidic community.
The town board approval was a “mixed bag,” said Village Governmental Affairs Director Ari Felberman.
“We are happy for those who got in but saddened and disappointed for those who didn’t get in because the annexation petition was for people to get services like water, sewers, sidewalks, lights and they were denied, and there was really no reason for that,” Felberman said. “It set a precedent that the annexation doesn’t apply to this community. The rest will be decided by the courts.”
chant prior to vote
While the vote did not surprise Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus,
he maintained “it was definitely wrong,” charging there is
“a significant lack of leadership in the Town of Monroe.”
Neuhaus said the annexation is not in the interest of the public.
County Legislature Chairman Stephen Brescia said he will convene a special meeting of the legislature shortly to consider the county’s options.
State Assemblyman James Skoufis, an ardent opponent to any annexation to Kiryas Joel, said the Monroe Town Board “wrongly approved” the petition.
“I strongly believe that a more sustainable approach is needed – one that preserves the intent of annexation law while forging a more considerate relationship with nearby communities,” Skoufis said.