Editorial: New town solves lingering problems

Jul 23rd, 2017 | By | Category: 2017 Election, Annexation, Editorial, Kiryas Joel, Monroe, Preserve Hudson Valley, Times Herald Record

Let Us VoteThe plan to create a new town by combining the Village of Kiryas Joel, a 164-acre expansion that has already been approved and an additional 56 acres is now on its way to the next step, consideration by the county Legislature and the voters in the Town of Monroe.

The agreement also includes an agreement to refuse any further requests for annexation of land for the next 10 years, effectively providing a decade of calm after what has been decades of conflict.

The agreement was reached in negotiations between the village and its most persistent foe, the United Monroe Citizens group. And while that is unusual, it was the only way to find some common ground at a time when too many others both in this region and elsewhere seem more determined to extend disagreements than to end them.

The plan to create the new town of Palm Tree will by itself defuse the volatile politics that have been so disruptive in the recent past. The population of Kiryas Joel has wielded a considerable amount of power in the Town of Monroe with many of its residents voting in a bloc. Separating the two removes that influence, leaving both towns under control of their own residents.

People in the area who have watched with alarm as a similar conflict has harmed a local school district in Rockland County can be relieved that the agreement here also contains a provision to align the borders of local school districts with the ones creating the new town. The Kiryas Joel district will be within the new town borders and there will be no overlap with the borders of the Monroe-Woodbury district.

All of this is important for voters and legislators to keep in mind and consider calmly as the cast their votes.

And they also have to keep something else in mind. If this proposition is not approved when it comes up for a vote, there are no other alternatives that provide any other solutions.

That has not stopped some from speaking out in opposition. Kevin Hines, a Republican from Cornwall on the Orange County Legislature, is against the proposal because he says it fosters an expansion of Kiryas Joel and leaves Cornwall and Woodbury unprotected.

It is not clear how he plans to stop the expansion of Kiryas Joel or why he thinks that the present situation with such growth spilling over the village borders into adjacent communities is better. If he is talking about a larger effort to cut down on housing developments and population growth in the region, then he needs to consider the many other proposals now being considered for developments with 300, 500 and 1,500 units, none of them with any relation to Kiryas Joel.

Coming out in opposition to anything associated with Kiryas Joel has long been a tactic used by local politicians to get voter support for their own campaigns. But it has never helped find a solution to the conflict between these two communities.

The creation of a new town and the 10-year moratorium on further expansion is the answer that the region has been looking for.

from http://www.recordonline.com/opinion/20170723/editorial-new-town-solves-lingering-problems

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