Saturday, May 02, 2015

Study: Kiryas Joel will grow by 20,000 in next decade with or without annexation of land 

Kiryas Joel and its planning consultants released a 600-page environmental review on Friday that contends the Satmar Hasidic community will grow by 20,000 in the village and surrounding areas over the next decade regardless of whether the village annexes 507 acres from the Town of Monroe.
The draft generic environmental impact statement prepared by Tim Miller Associates, which is meant to analyze the potential impact of the annexation proposal, is built on an assumption that Kiryas Joel's leaders have long promoted and that their opponents reject: that the community's rapid and continued growth is inevitable. Using that premise, the study looks at the difference in how an anticipated 3,825 new households would be divided between Kiryas Joel and the annexation area, depending on whether the adjacent land is developed under current Monroe zoning or the higher densities that Kiryas Joel would allow if it gained control.

The consultants argue "the potential impacts of annexation relate not to population growth, but to the difference in population distribution" under one development scenario or the other.
The document is posted on a web site created for the annexation proposal (www.kj-seqra.com/507Acres). Paper copies are available for inspection at the Monroe Free Library and at Monroe Town Hall. Village officials said they plan to hold a public hearing on the impact statement in the village on June 10.

The addition of 507 acres of mostly undeveloped land would enlarge Kiryas Joel by nearly 75 percent. The consultants calculate that 3,825 housing units could be built on that land to keep pace with projected growth by 2025, at a density of 6.6 units per acre. By comparison, 1,431 units could be built there under Monroe zoning, leaving 2,394 additional homes that they say would be created inside a 691-acre village that currently has little land available for development.

The analysis attempts to counter strong opposition to the annexation proposal by suggesting that inevitable population growth means the border shift will have no effect in itself on two of the most controversial issues: the cost of social services in the Satmar community and the limited sewage treatment capacity in southern Orange County. Kiryas Joel expects population growth in the village and annexation area to generate an additional 1.3 million gallons per day of wastewater by 2025, regardless of whether annexation occurs. It projects a population of 42,297 by then.

The report calculates that future development of the annexation area ultimately would create a net tax benefit of either $1.7 million a year or $10.4 million a year for the Monroe-Woodbury School District, since households there would pay Monroe-Woodbury taxes while the students attend religious schools. The higher amount would come if annexation occurs, although that also would mean 3,825 Hasidic households "with voting rights" living in the district, according to the document. Monroe-Woodbury officials might prefer in that scenario to cede the land to Kiryas Joel school district, the consultants noted.


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