Kirays Joel, NY – The proposed Kiryas Joel annexation has cleared yet another legal hurdle as the Town of Monroe board passed a 164 acre annexation plan by a vote of four to one at a meeting held tonight while simultaneously shooting down a larger plan that would have allowed a larger 507 acre expansion.

A large contingent of United Monroe supporters rallied at a local McDonalds prior to the meeting and walked en masse to the meeting, held at the Bais Rochel Paradise Hall in Kiryas Joel, almost two miles away.

Tension was palpable in the large room, with audience members holding signs and the Monroe town board separated from spectators by metal police-style barricades during the hour long meeting which was peppered with both jeers and applause.

The vote was presented as a “vote in common,” with board members voting on a plan that would reject the larger 507 acre annexation plan while simultaneously approving the 164 acre plan, according to Paul Larrabee of Corning Place Communications, which represents the village of Kiryas Joel.

Larrabbee said he could not explain why the two proposals were presented as a single vote that would only allow for approval of the smaller plan while rejecting the larger one.

The 164 acre proposal will move on to the next stage of the annexation process with residents of the area to be annexed casting their votes on the plan after a mandatory 30 day waiting period has passed.

Neither Emily Convers, head of United Monroe, nor Ari Felberman, government relations coordinator for Kiryas Joel was available for comment.

Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus released a statement tonight condemning the vote.

“The decision does not surprise me but it was definitely wrong,” said Neuhaus. “There is a significant lack of leadership in the Town of Monroe. This annexation is not in the overall interest of the public.”

Neuhaus faulted the state for not naming Orange County as the lead agency in the annexation process and for introducing legislation that might have halted the annexation in the eleventh hour, when it was too late to be of use.

Neuhaus called on L. Stephen Brescia, chairman of the Orange County Legislature to convene a special meeting as soon as possible in order to determine the county’s next step.

“Time is of the essence,” said Neuhaus, with a nod to the mandatory waiting period before the next vote can take place..  “The options we have available to us today will not exist in 30 days.”

As reported by Vos Iz Neias