'Separation is crucial'

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The following is the statement released this week by United Monroe’s statement regarding its negotiations with the Village of Kiryas Joel regarding the size and boundaries of the proposed Town of Palm Tree (formerly North Monroe):

Last fall, the Village of Kiryas Joel filed a petition to separate into their own Town taking 382 acres of Monroe land with them.

United Monroe publicly stated that while we agree separation is a good idea, 382 acres is too much land.

United Monroe and Preserve Hudson Valley then asked to be at the table for any discussions on a compromise separation.

Preserve Hudson Valley is in litigation with Kiryas Joel over the 164 acre annexation decision. Kiryas Joel is litigating against the Town of Monroe over the 507 acre annexation decision.

In order for each of our communities to live side by side in peace, compromise must be reached. By Kiryas Joel becoming their own Town, this removes the power and control Kiryas Joel has over the Town Board of Monroe, and allows the people of Monroe to pursue their own destiny.

Kiryas Joel withdrew their petition for separation with 382 acres earlier this week, and replaced it with 220 acres; 164 of the 220 acres already sits in the Village of Kiryas Joel.

So, the only acreage which has been negotiated is 56 acres of Monroe land. The citizens of Monroe will part with 56 acres of Town land in exchange for future peace and representation on the Town of Monroe Board.

This will only happen if the County Legislature votes “yes” in September to allow the people of Monroe to vote on a separation on election day on November 7th.

Preserve Hudson Valley is still in settlement discussions with Kiryas Joel in order to settle the law suits, and work towards a compromise. In the meantime, as the details and facts emerge, we ask that you keep an open mind and understand that hundreds of your fellow volunteer citizens have been working for fair government and representation over the past five years which has brought us to this crucial, and historic moment.

In addition, the leaders of United Monroe have spent hundreds of volunteer hours advocating for sustainable solutions to this obvious clash of aspirations between two distinct communities. During this time, the Town of Monroe Supervisor has been creating chaos and spreading falsehoods in order to prevent this separation from taking place, since it would mean the end of his employment as Town Supervisor. Monroe taxpayers have been paying the salary of a man who could care less about finding positive solutions, about representing all citizens fairly, or about responsible governance. In the coming months, the people of Monroe will have to disregard the propaganda, and understand our reality in Monroe. With an ever growing population in Kiryas Joel, the people of Monroe will not have representative government in our Town. Future elections will go to the KJ candidates. This means changes in zoning, planning, and density. In order for Monroe to preserve the zoning and rural character for the foreseeable future, separation is crucial.

The Monroe Woodbury School District is protected and separate from Kiryas Joel today because of previous boards who understood the need to separate. This separation is no different.

Again, the final negotiations for settlement of the litigation are not complete, however, Kiryas Joel swapping out the petition this week for the smaller acreage is a sign of their desire to make separation a reality.

It’s unusual to see the leaders of United Monroe in agreement with Kiryas Joel on separation. Many of us never thought we would see this day. But it is due to the hundreds of volunteers, thousands of voters, and hard work and activism which has brought the Kiryas Joel leaders to the table to compromise, something that has not happened before. We should all be very proud and hopeful. And again, the leaders of United Monroe ask that the citizens of Monroe and Woodbury and Blooming Grove reserve criticism until all details are made available, and until you have a full understanding of the necessity for separation. We thank you for your continued support and activism.

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