KIRYAS JOEL — Residents in the Town of Monroe have kicked off a petition drive to begin the legal process of splitting the town into two separate towns, by forming a new town of North Monroe, according to a press release issued Tuesday afternoon from Kiryas Joel Village Administrator Gedalye Szegedin.
This proposed new town entity will be located entirely north of State Route 17.
According to Szegedin, the process outlined by New York State Law to establish the Town of North Monroe will begin immediately with a petition seeking signatures of a minimum 650 town residents.
Once the petition has the required number of signatures, it will be delivered to the Orange County Legislature, where the 21 legislators will be charged with voting on the request.
If the County Legislature votes to approve, the next step in the process would be a referendum vote of eligible voters in the Town of Monroe.
"The underlying reasons for the formation of a new and separate town stem from the differing lifestyles of residents in the Village of Kiryas Joel and its immediate vicinities in the town, and those town residents living south of Route 17," the village administrator said. "For example the vast majority of the residents of the Village of Kiryas Joel and its immediate vicinities are Satmar Chasidic Jews, who choose to reside near family and friends that share their culture and language.
Cultural and political impact
"In addition, most of the community’s residents rely on the infrastructure and services unique to this community and not available in most other parts of Orange County including, among others: Yiddish speaking fire and emergency medical services; kosher markets; places of worship; ritual baths; and multi-family affordable housing to accommodate large families," he added. "Those differences have created tension between the groups for over two decades but could now be ameliorated by the division of the existing Town of Monroe into two separate towns."
Szegedin said that separation would allow each new town to decide which public and community services and facilities it finds desirable. "Politically, the establishment of two separate towns would mean that the Kiryas Joel electorate would no longer vote in any of the Town of Monroe elections for its nine public offices," he said.
The new town would also facilitate the consolidation of the local fire districts as well as the alteration of the school district boundaries between the Monroe-Woodbury and Kiryas Joel school districts under Education Law section 1507 to align with the new town/village boundaries.
"This would alleviate the perceived burdens and concerns over the governance and budgeting of the Monroe-Woodbury School District," Szegedin said.
The formation of a new town will be the first step toward achieving the broader ultimate objective of consolidation of a coterminous Town/Village/School District/Fire District.
“Many people have complained about Kiryas Joel voters having too much of a say in the Town of Monroe," Szegedin said.
"We agree with the many people who have suggested over the years that creating two separate towns is the most practical way to alleviate that concern," Szegedin remarked. “We firmly believe that this is an important step in the healing process for these two communities."
It could not be immediately learned why this proposal is being made now.
After all, all the paperwork regarding challenges to the proposed annexation of land from the unincorporated portion of the Town of Monroe into the Village of Kiryas Joel has been filed and awaits a state Supreme Court judge's decision.
All the proposed annexation properties are north of the Quickway.
Regardless of any annexation decision, Kiryas Joel officials have indicated publicly that its residents need housing now and that the village's population of about 25,000 today could double in 10 years.
There are five large housing developments temporarily halted by the Town of Monroe's building moratoriums. Residents of the Town of Blooming Grove and the Village of South Blooming Grove have received unsolicited offers to sell their homes.
Homes also are being bought and built in Woodbury.
In November 2014, Szegedin floated the idea of creating a new village to be called the Village of Glilos Kiryas Joel (Village Adjacent To Kiryas Joel), if the attempt to have Kiryas Joel annex 507 acres of Monroe land failed.
According to New York State law, forming the Village of Glilos Kiryas Joel would not demand a vote by a town’s board and no state environmental review would be required. All that would be necessary to allow the new village to form is a referendum of the property owners within the specific boundaries of the proposed village and 500 residents – the minimum number required by law.
A new village, however, would remain a part of the Town of Monroe, and therefore part of its political landscape.
The Photo News will update this story throughout the week as events unfold.http://www.thephoto-news.com/apps/pbcs. ... /160819973