Kiryas Joel, NY – It was the unlikeliest of scenarios at Thursday night’s hearing of the Orange County Legislature as residents of Kiryas Joel and members of United Monroe joined together in applause and cheers after hearing the results of a vote that will hopefully bring an end to years of animosity between the two groups.
As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2eQMd08), a proposal that would remove Kiryas Joel from the Town of Monroe and spin it into the newly created Town of Palm Tree could only come before voters if it passed the Orange County Legislature by a supermajority vote.
The plan for the Town of Palm Tree is part of a settlement between the Village of Kiryas Joel and the United Monroe citizens group that was designed to put an end to long standing tensions in the area, with both sides making concessions for the sake of peace.
The plan passed the legislature by a vote of 18 to 3, a margin that Ari Felberman, government relations coordinator for Kiryas Joel, described as near unanimous.
Felberman said that more than 90 percent of the speakers at the hearing lauded the agreement as a positive development.
“All of them were non-Jews,” Felberman told VIN News. “I think it finally dawned on them that the old ways of fighting, litigation and lawsuits weren’t getting them anywhere.”
United Monroe chairwoman Emily Convers did not immediately return a request for comment but a post on the United Monroe Facebook page read simply “18-3. Yes!!!!!!”
The settlement, first announced in July, has brought with it a wave of good news, according to Felberman.
“We ushered in a new era of cooperation,” said Felberman. “Once this started we were able to settle issues with other municipalities, who are suddenly realizing that we can sit with them and work things out.”
Felberman is looking forward to a new era of peaceful coexistence with his neighbors in Monroe.
“We will put a nice, beautiful picket fence and the only argument we will have is whose side of the grass is greener,” said Felberman.