Kiryas Joel Land Deal: A Town Divided

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kjThe following is a News 12 article:

Nestled in southern Orange County is the picturesque suburban commuter town of Monroe, where working families live in homes with picket-fence lined yards.

Also inside its borders lies a very different community, one that’s private, intensely conservative and rapidly growing: the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Village of Kiryas Joel.

The two communities are finding themselves increasingly at odds as Kiryas Joel seeks to accommodate its expanding population. “We need more housing,” a Kiryas Joel resident told News 12. “We have lots of children, and they marry, and they need more space.”

Deeply against the village’s expansion plan is a group of Monroe residents called United Monroe. The group was formed during the Monroe town supervisor race between expansion opponent Emily Convers and Democrat Harley Doles back in November 2013. At the time, the Board of Elections said the turnout in town was unprecedented. Kiryas Joel residents cast their votes in a block, and current Supervisor Harley Doles was elected.

Just a month and a half after the election, the citizens of Kiryas Joel petitioned to annex 507 acres of mostly undeveloped, Hasidic-owned land. The plan would effectively double the size of their village, and it’s space that Kiryas Joel residents say they desperately need.

But the plan has been widely met with criticism from Monroe residents. The turf war is being fueled by a culture clash that includes accusations of political motivations and anti-Semitism.

Opponents of the village’s expansion are expressing concerns about what could happen if the deal goes through. “The zoning will be very, very high density,” says United Monroe’s Emily Convers. “Many, many apartments will be built immediately. We’re looking at thousands and thousands more children, probably double, if not more.”

Doles says criticism against him over the issue has turned into vandalism. The supervisor says he’s gotten threats and that his car window has been smashed. While Doles denies any favoritism toward Kiryas Joel, the issue continues to spark fiery debate. Residents are packing into crowded and often heated town board meetings.

Public concerns about the potential expansion are supposed to be addressed by a designated lead agency, which will oversee a state environmental quality review, also known as an SEQR. Kiryas Joel, Monroe, the Monroe-Woodbury School District and Orange County have all asked the state for control over the process. So far, the school district has been denied because the state said it did not qualify for the position.

(Source: News12)

7 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t understand Ms.Convers complaint-what is wrong with lots of children????They won’t be going to Ms.Convers public schools so she won’t have to pay for their education or have her children actually have to be in school with Jews

  2. Stop with Anti
    Semitism this is an issue that is. Deeper then
    That. This has to do
    With increased taxes and the lack of support from
    The frummies. They don’t pay but take

  3. #3 what do you think would happen if they will be the only ones left in Monroe? They will be the only ones paying taxes and I’m sure they will figure it out very well. (Yes I know its not just them it will come from government) my point is don’t think for a second that Monroe is bleeding out of money because of kj. Have you ever calculated how much they get and how much they pay in school taxes? First do the math then you can talk

  4. The take less than they pay. The frummies pay school taxes but don’t send their kids to public school. The frummies are paying for the gentiles school.

  5. I said this a long time ago why don’t all the Jewish schools close and all kids should be registered in to public schools and now let’s see what they will say now I pay over 12k in property tax and I don’t get anything back why should I pay for private school

  6. Sure, there might be anti-semitism. But stop going there, its not the cause of the problems at hand.

    First, its natural for people to be on edge, and to not be accomidating, when a visibly different people move in. It does change ones way of life, it does change the way one is used to living.

    Secondly, people living rurally, want it that way. They dont want urban sprawl, they dont want lage city style living transplanted into their midst, so of coarse they resist!

    So those are the issues. For the original inhabitants of the area however, Id like to point out, you are within a 45 minute to an hour drive of one of the biggest most populated cities in your country. Cities grow,and its the immediately out-lying areas that get consumed. Too bad, so sad, but thats reality. Time to suck it up and grow up. Cant fight reality. New york city presently is made up of hundreds of former villages and towns that got swallowed. People who didnt like the new life, moved on. Its not called Greenwich village, or this borough or that boro for no reason. Those all used to be rural villages, outlying from New Amsterdam, New York etc.

    On the side of the frum velt that is bursting and expanding. Dont put your eggs in one basket. There are enough Monsey people who have mvoed to other rural areas within striking distance. Its true there is resistance in most areas when jews move in, thats also reality. But instead of building up, or excessibely build out (I dont think K Yoel is excessive by any means yet), build pockets, keep moving into new communities and grow that way. Its just very easy to set up where you already have your mikvaot and shuls and schools. But dont just pursue ease.