Thursday, June 11, 2015

Neuhaus says county cannot support KJ annexation 

Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus told a public hearing on the two proposed land annexations by the Village of Kiryas Joel on Wednesday night that the county has "serious issues" about the plans.
The two petitions for annexations of 507 acres and 164 acres into the Village of Kiryas Joel underwent a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement that was released on May 1.
Neuhaus said there may be some discrepancies between the DGEIS and the independent parties the county hired to investigate the annexations.
"From Port Jervis to Deerpark to Crawford to Cornwall has voted unanimously to support doing this independent process, check what those numbers are and then once those numbers are released if they're good, they're fine, if they're contradictory, which we believe they are, that's why we have to come out here, in person and say, 'we have some serious issues; we cannot support this annexation'," said Neuhaus.
Neuhaus outlined 12 points for why the county is opposed to the annexation. They include discrepancies of annexation acreage, social services costs, anticipated growth, flawed nature of the traffic study, concerns that petition may impact county park land, impact on public health monitoring, errors in wetland impacts, impact on early intervention and school district costs, impact on emergency services, unnecessarily limited population timeline utilized by the DGEIS, inconsistent use of varying demographic measurement methodologies, waste water impacts and impacts on the Ramapo River.
Some members of the KJ community have come out opposed to the annexation. Rabbi Yoel Loeb claims the village is "antagonizing their neighbors" and a sit down with both parties is necessary for them to resolve the issue. This has yet to happen. Neuhaus said the county is open to meetings with the KJ Village Council but, none have been arranged as of yet.
Those in favor of the annexation were reluctant to share their position but, overall, they feel it is the right of the Hasidic community to expand.
Proponents believe it is their right to able to live among their families and to pursue the way of life they choose.

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