NY Picks Kiryas Joel To Lead Review of Annexation Request

ALBANY (AP/Hamodia) -

New York’s environmental commissioner on Wednesday chose Kiryas Joel to lead the review of a request to annex roughly 500 acres of adjacent land.

Commissioner Joe Martens’ decision means the Hudson Valley village will oversee the state-mandated environmental impact review on a politically controversial request to annex land from Monroe for expansion.

Leaders of the densely settled enclave of Orthodox Jews say the village of 22,000 is bursting at the seams and needs more land.

While some local opponents of the annexation request said they feared the review would not be fair, Martens said the long-awaited decision was made after a yearlong review.

“The village understands the magnitude of its responsibility and will comply with state law defining its role as lead agency,” village officials said in a statement. “Additionally, the village recognizes its responsibility to the public and will solicit input as to ensure that multiple perspectives and points-of-view are heard.”

Monroe wants the area to be divided into larger lots, while Kiryas Joel wants to develop more housing.