Kiryas Joel, NY – Details of the July 18th agreement that will hopefully put an end to the continued legal wrangling between Kiryas Joel and Monroe have been released to the public, outlining a settlement that would have both sides dropping pending lawsuits related to a previous bid to allow Kiryas Joel to annex over 500 acres of Monroe land.
As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2fBEwec), the agreement would create the new town of Palm Tree, the English translation of the name Teitelbaum, which would include the Village of Kiryas Joel plus 164 acres that have already been annexed as well as an additional 56 acres.
If the plan passes muster with the Orange County Legislature in September by a two thirds vote, it will appear as a referendum on the ballot in the November general election.
According to the Times Herald Record (http://bit.ly/2fBC0or), the confidential settlement was released to the public on Friday by the United Monroe citizens group, with a goal of creating “peaceful coexistence” while putting an end to both current and future litigation between the two groups.
The agreement stipulates that United Monroe and its associated non-profit arm Preserve Hudson Valley will discontinue any challenges to Kiryas Joel’s use of land in Monroe that is used for the village’s municipal water supply, which would be made available to properties in the adjacent areas on “fair and reasonable terms and conditions.”
Kiryas Joel officials agreed to placing a moratorium on any future annexations involving the Town of Monroe and the Village of Blooming Grove that would begin from the time the settlement is signed and would extend for an additional ten years after the Town of Palm Tree is created.
The settlement also forbids Kiryas Joel officials from any actions that would “directly or indirectly, encourage, sponsor or in any way abet” the creation of any new villages within the boundaries of the Town of Monroe.
Kiryas Joel would be responsible for defending the settlement from any potential lawsuits and while both United Monroe and Preserve Hudson Valley would assist in any possible defense, all financial responsibility would be shouldered by Kiryas Joel.
Two public hearings will be held next week on the creation of the Town of Palm Tree, the first taking place on Tuesday in Woodbury at the Central Valley Elementary School and the second on Wednesday in Kiryas Joel at the Bais Rochel Paradise Hall. United Monroe will be holding a “Let Us Vote” march on August 15th as a demonstration of support and unity for the settlement.
United Monroe officials have taken to social media in recent days, encouraging residents to turn out for this week’s meetings in an effort to persuade county legislators to throw their support behind the agreement. 14 out of Orange County’s 21 legislators will need to approve the settlement in order for it to appear on the November ballot for public vote.
United Monroe director John Allegro described the settlement on Facebook as a solution that will allow Monroe residents to determine their own political future.
“We will have the chance to declare independence from the bloc vote for the first time in decades,” wrote Allegro.
A Facebook post by Emily Convers, United Monroe’s chairwoman, urged residents to view the proposed split between Monroe and Kiryas Joel as a move that would protect Monroe from “chaos,” high density housing and unwanted interference from Kiryas Joel and not as “giving KJ what they want.”
“KJ has the numbers to win every Monroe Town Board election forever more,” warned Convers, adding “separating is the only solution.”
Convers noted that as part of the agreement, the school district borders would be aligned with the new town boundaries, forever removing Kiryas Joel’s influence both from the Town of Monroe as well as the Monroe Woodbury School District.
“Right now we have an historic opportunity to separate, once again, to protect the school district and the Town of Monroe from complete takeover. It’s now or never.”
A Kiryas Joel spokesperson did not immediately return calls for comment.