At its May 7 meeting, the Orange County Legislature approved $200,000 to study the annexation of parts of Monroe into Kiryas Joel.
Orange County’s analysis will be separate from the mandatory environmental review that Kiryas Joel and its own planning consultants are conducting.
For over a year, Neuhaus has asked the state to fix the laws that are allowing Kiryas Joel to lead the environmental review of its aggressive plan. Unfortunately, no action has been taken by the only people who can stop it, state legislators and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in Albany, according to Neuhaus.
Orange County agrees with those trying to overturn the decision to give Kiryas Joel lead agency status. “We want to make sure that the real implications of this annexation are known and not allow them to be swept under the rug,” Neuhaus said. “I care about it deeply as a Monroe resident and a Monroe Woodbury graduate.”
Five firms submitted applications to assist the county in its review.
The Village of Kiryas Joel wants to annex 507 acres of land from the Town of Monroe, but many living in Monroe are concerned over “quality of life” issues that may follow along with the deal.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will determine who to grant lead agency status to. The Monroe Woodbury Central School District also requested lead agency status, but their request was rejected by the DEC.
Once annexed the property will change from 1.5 to 3 acre “rural residential” zoning to high-density building. The town expects the addition of apartments and condominiums housing large families to increase.