KIRYAS JOEL, N.Y. — The Monroe Town Board on Tuesday voted in favor of an expansion of Kiryas Joel, the largely Hasidic village in Orange County.
Cheers erupted at a packed meeting Tuesday night after the board passed the plan. It calls for the annexation of 507 acres to the village, nearly doubling its side.
There had been a separate proposal to annex only about one third of the land.
The decision Tuesday night ended a battle that has raged on for almost two years.
“It wasn’t a surprise,” said one person at the meeting. “We knew going into the meeting that it was probably going to be approved tonight — at least a portion of the annexation.”
Leaders of the densely settled enclave of ultra-Orthodox Satmar Hasidic Jews had said the village of 22,000 was bursting at the seams and needed more land to accommodate its quickly growing population.
Local opponents of the annexation request from out-of-village Satmar had said earlier this year that they feared more congestion in the suburban area.
They opposed Kiryas Joel’s request for lead agency status in the State Environmental Quality Review process, claiming the review would not be thorough or fair.
Board members had refused to say how they would be voting ahead of time.
Kiryas Joel is named for Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, the founder of the Hasidic sect, who bought the land for the municipality in 1977.
The village is known for having the youngest median age of any municipality in the United States, at 13.2 years old.