Seeking the court’s approval

Kiryas Joel, Preserve Hudson Valley and United Monroe want the court to memorialize the agreement that led to the Town of Palm Tree


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  • Attorneys for Kiryas Joel, United Monroe and Preserve Hudson Valley filed papers earlier this week with State Supreme Court Justice Gretchen Walsh to set aside lawsuits filed against one another and to pave the way for the new Town of Palm Tree.



By Bob Quinn

— Attorneys for Kiryas Joel, United Monroe and Preserve Hudson Valley filed papers earlier this week with State Supreme Court Justice Gretchen Walsh to set aside lawsuits filed against one another and to pave the way for the new Town of Palm Tree.

“The Settling Parties submit that their agreement is truly historic,” the lawyers - Michael G. Sterthous for the Village of Kiryas Joel and Daniel M. Richmond for Preserve Hudson Valley/United Monroe - wrote in their court papers. “While the Settling Parties are already committed to abiding by its terms, they respectfully request that the Court So-Order the Stipulation to further memorialize and secure its benefits to themselves and to the public.”

The filings were expected.

The settlementAfter years of conflict, the “Settling Parties engaged in intense discussions this year aimed at not only resolving their disputes but also at formulating a constructive framework to promote peaceful coexistence between their communities and productive dealings by their governments,” the lawyers wrote.

The Town of Palm Tree will contain Kiryas Joel, including the 164-acre annexation recently incorporated into the Village of Kiryas Joel, and 56 additional acres of the unincorporated Town of Monroe.

The stipulation was endorsed by an 18-3 vote of the Orange County Legislature than by more than 80 percent of Town of Monroe residents who voted to create of the Town of Palm Tree on Election Day,.

Among the key terms of the stipulation between the parties are:

Move to discontinue all remaining legal challenges to the 164-acre annexation in any court of this State, and move to discontinue, without prejudice, all remaining challenges to the 507-acre annexation.

Kiryas Joel and the Town of Palm Tree shall not sponsor any annexation of land from the Town of Monroe to Kiryas Joel and/or the Town of Palm Tree other than as may be necessary to make the Village of Kiryas Joel and the Town of Palm Tree coterminous, consistent with the boundaries for ten years from the effective date of the Town of Palm Tree.

Kiryas Joel and the Town of Palm Tree shall not sponsor the formation of any new villages in the Town of Monroe for ten years from the effective date of the Town of Palm Tree.

PHV/United Monroe shall not oppose fair, reasonable and lawful zoning or planning decisions for residential projects within the Town of Palm Tree for ten years from the effective date of the Town of Palm Tree.

Kiryas Joel and the Town of Palm Tree shall remain coterminous for not less than ten years from the effective date of the Town by local property owners filed with future litigation.

Kiryas Joel and the Town will continue to make the Village’s water distribution system available to any residential and commercial properties in adjacent areas in the Town of Monroe on fair and reasonable terms and conditions.

The agreement also included the critical provision that the Kiryas Joel and Monroe-Woodbury school district redraw their boundaries to make the KJ School District coterminous with the Town of Palm. Both school districts have done that.

Village or townMeanwhile, Sterthous has prepared a memorandum for Kiryas Joel Village Administrator Gedalye Szegedin that outlines the procedures for establishing a single form of government for a coterminous Village of Kiryas Joel/Town of Palm Tree.

“Kiryas Joel and the Town shall immediately commence, and pursue to completion, all necessary efforts, including but not limited to annexation, consolidation or Home Rule request to make the Village and Town coterminous pursuant to and wholly consistent with the boundaries set forth in the 56-acre Petition, including the consolidation of governance of the Village and Town,” Sterthous wrote.

“Once the Village boundary is coterminous with the Town of Palm Tree boundary, reliance shifts to Village Law, which requires a Village that has annexed territory to include an entire town to submit a proposition to Village voters at the next general election as to whether the government of the coterminous territory shall operate principally as a town or village, but not as both,” he added.

That could require a referendum as early as next November, asking voters in the new municipality:

“Shall the local government of operate principally as a village or principally as a town?”

“This process could expedite the effective date of the Town of Palm Tree for the exercise of government functions to January 2019, a full year earlier than under Town Law Article 5 alone,” Sterthous concluded. “This process would also avoid the uncertainty of a home rule request to amend Town Law Article 5 regarding the effective date of the newly formed Town of Palm Tree.”

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