KIRYAS JOEL - Orange County legislators overwhelmingly approved a referendum for this November for voters to decide whether Kiryas Joel can expand into an independent town.
The 18-3 vote Thursday night sets in place a referendum before town of Monroe voters on Nov. 7 whether to allow the village of Kiryas Joel to add 56 acres and become the Town of Palm Tree.
Proponents believe creation of the new town would reduce long-standing tensions between the village founded by the Satmar Rebbe 50 years ago and surrounding residents of the suburban area. Leaders of the village and local opponents — including United Monroe — recently ended decades of animosity and arrived at the compromise deal.
In return for the expansion, Kiryas Joel agreed to a 10-year prohibition on supporting new annexation petitions.
The November vote must be okayed by a two-thirds majority in order to go into effect. The 1.1-square mile village has about 23,000 residents.
The name “Palm Tree” was selected by village leaders in a nod to their founder, Harav Yoel Teitelbaum, zy”a. Teitelbaum is the Yiddish term for palm tree.