Goshen, NY - Orange County Votes To Partner With Towns And Villages To Challenge Kiryas Joel Annexation
Goshen, NY – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus announced on Thursday that the County will seek to join in litigation with other municipalities against the proposed growth of the Village of Kiryas Joel by 164 acres.
The County Legislature, by a vote of 19-1, agreed to authorize such litigation to the extent that it would fund up to $200,000 in litigation costs. Michael Amo, who represents Kiryas Joel, was the only legislator to vote against the proposal. Legislator Shannon Wong was not present for the vote due to a family medical emergency.
“It is important that we speak with one voice on this issue,” Neuhaus said. “Kiryas Joel’s environmental review failed to depict the true impacts of this annexation. SEQRA law needs to be changed to recognize the regional impacts of large scale annexations. For now, we have to turn to the courts to try and force the environmental issues to be fully considered.”
The southern Orange County Mayors and Supervisors have retained the law firm of Bryan Cave LLP to litigate on behalf of those municipalities, which will include the County of Orange is it joins the lawsuit. Sharon Worthy-Spiegl from the County attorney’s office is expected to negotiate the terms of the inter-municipal agreement governing the County’s participation in the lawsuit.
The Town of Monroe Board voted last week to approve an annexation of approximately 164 acres into the Kiryas Joel. A petition for a 507-acre annexation was rejected, but Kiryas Joel is expected to appeal that decision to the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court.
“We have never had a potential annexation or land development of this magnitude in the history of the county,” said Steve Brescia, Chairman of the Legislature. “At the very least, the SEQRA should be done properly.
The potential impact of this annexation on water, sewage, traffic, schools and so much more is of the utmost importance to all County residents. We need to make sure that the planning and SEQRA process is followed in a diligent and transparent matter.”
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