Attorney advises Monroe Town Board to refrain from KJ pipeline controversy

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:58

    MONROE-Town Attorney Kevin Dowd told the Town Board on Monday that Monroe should not take a postion - pro or con - on the Village of Kiryas Joel's proposed 13-mile water pipeline. The pipeline would run from the Catskill Aqueduct in the Vails Gate section of New Windsor to Kiryas Joel. It would run underground through Cornwall, Blooming Grove and Monroe, following Routes 94, 27, 208 and 17. Most of the pipe would be in Blooming Grove. The proposal has generated considerable opposition. The county Legislature has authorized up to $250,000 to be used by County Executive Edward Diana to fight it in court. It also has prompted several movements to incorporate villages within some of the towns in order to strengthen zoning - and presumably prevent the pipeline from coming through those municipalities. On Monday, Dowd issued the following statement, which he said originated by inquiries from the public a month ago: "At a recent Town Board meeting, a member of the public asked the Board to state its position regarding the proposed pipeline connection from the NYC aqueduct to the Village of Kiryas Joel. This issue is being played out in the local newspapers and in the courts now that the County is suing the Village over the environmental process. "As the Town Attorney, I have long advised the Town Board that it should refrain from opining on matters that are not formally before it and, as in this matter, over which it has no jurisdiction whatsoever. "The reasons for my advice are pretty simple and straight forward: a Board should never pre-judge an issue before it has all of the information available to make a reasoned position (the fairness principle) and one municipality should not take hard-line stances against the needs of another municipality unless there is some equally important adverse effect that your municipality win suffer. (the principle of comity between co-equal governments). "Much has been said both for and against the pipeline but the ultimate decision on whether the pipeline goes forward or not rests not in the hands of this Town Board but in the hands of the NYC water supply commissioner. "Under those circumstances, it has and will continue to be my advice to the Town Board that it not take a position either for or against the pipeline."