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Albany, NY - 9000+ Petitions Sent To Cuomo By KJ Annexation Opponents As Legislation Awaits Governor’s Pen

Published on: June 25, 2015 04:31 PM
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A photo posted by Assemblyman James Skoufis on Facebook this afternoon shows Skoufis delivering five boxes on a hand truck to the governor’s office.A photo posted by Assemblyman James Skoufis on Facebook this afternoon shows Skoufis delivering five boxes on a hand truck to the governor’s office.

Albany, NY - An Orange County assemblyman who began a petition urging Governor Cuomo to sign an annexation oversight bill in an effort to thwart the proposed Kiryas Joel annexation has announced that almost 10,000 people have signed the online petition.

A picture posted by Assemblyman James Skoufis on Facebook this afternoon shows Skoufis delivering five boxes on a hand truck to the governor’s office.  According to Skoufis, 9,020 signed petitions, including those of 506 Kiryas Joel residents, were delivered to Cuomo today.

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Both the Assembly and the Senate passed the annexation oversight bill  before the end of the last session on June 17th and the bill is currently awaiting the governor’s signature or veto.  Whether or not Governor Cuomo will sign the bill, which will add yet another obstacle to the annexation process by requiring a supermajority vote from both affected boards in order to allow the annexation to proceed, remains to be seen.

In the interim, the annexation continues to chug along, even as the opposition movement attempts to derail it.

The five hour long June 10th hearing, allowing the public to share their thoughts on a potential Kiryas Joel land annexation that could substantially increase the village’s size, was yet another step in a lengthy legal process that is inching closer to its final conclusion.

Tim Miller Associates of Cold Spring, planning consultants for the village of Kiryas Joel, will review transcripts of the lengthy public hearing, plus any additional written comments submitted by the public by the June 22nd deadline.   A final environmental impact statement will be drafted and reviewed with village representatives, which will include responses to all concerns that have been voiced by the public regarding the expansion, according to Fred Wells, a registered landscape architect and senior vice president at Tim Miller Associates.

A parallel study commissioned by Orange County, as well as a statement made by County Executive Steven Neuhaus saying that the expansion is not in the best overall interest of county residents, have no legal impact on the annexation process.

“The county has extensive comments on the EIS and I assume their review and studies will continue, but that doesn’t necessarily affect the SEQRA process, although obviously the village will listen and take those comments under consideration” Wells told VIN News.

As previously reported on VIN News, there are two annexation plans being debated:  one would add an additional 507 acres to Kiryas Joel and another would increase the village’s size by a more modest 164 acres.

Village officials will be required to wait a minimum of ten days after receiving the final environmental impact statement before completing the last step in the mandatory environmental review process, adopting a findings statement.

Once the findings statement has been adopted, the final votes on the annexation plan, with separate votes to be held by the Monroe town board and the Kiryas Joel village board, will take place and the vote could take place at the same time that the findings statement is adopted.

Should Governor Cuomo sign the annexation oversight bill, four out of five members of each of the two boards must vote in favor of the annexation. If the governor vetoes the annexation legislation, it would take only a three out of five vote in favor of the annexation on each of the two boards to allow the annexation to continue.    State law requires that the final vote on the plan must take place within 90 days of the public hearing, placing the actual vote on or before September 8th.

If the annexation is approved by the boards of the Town of Monroe and the Village of Kiryas Joel, the final step in the SEQRA process, the expansion would be brought to a public vote, according to Josh Poupoure, senior vice president of Corning Public Communications, a communications firm representing the Village of Kiryas Joel.

“Registered voters who live in the area to be annexed would vote on the annexation as stated in section 713 of New York State law,” said Poupoure.  “If they vote in favor then the annexation will take place.”

The final public vote on the annexation would be held within 90 days of the annexation received the required number of votes by the affected boards, potentially placing a final vote on the expansion sometime from September to December.


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