דער רעקארד שרייבט בשם די דיוועלאפערס לויער אז דער האט נישט קיין לעגאַלע באזיס.
Monroe supervisor rejects petition for new Hasidic village
Posted Mar 20, 2019 at 6:36 PM
Updated Mar 20, 2019 at 6:36 PM
MONROE — Town Supervisor Tony Cardone has dismissed a petition by Hasidic property owners to form a new village next to Kiryas Joel, ruling that the petitioners failed to collect the minimum number of signatures required under state law.
In a letter to lead petitioners Herman Wagschal and Alex Neustadt and their attorney, Cardone said the 116 signatures amounted to 19 percent of the 597 people listed in the petition as “regular inhabitants” of the 1.7 square miles that would be incorporated in the proposed Village of Seven Springs. That was three signatures short of the 20 percent threshold that Cardone said was required in state law.
The petition “is hereby rejected as insufficient on its face and will not be processed further by my office,” Cardone wrote in the letter, dated March 15 and obtained Wednesday by the Times Herald-Record.
The petitioners hadn’t formally responded to the letter on Wednesday, but they appear to have grounds to challenge Cardone’s reading of the signature requirement.
State law requires a village petition be signed by at least 20 percent of the residents who are “qualified to vote” — meaning adults — in the area to be incorporated. The 597 residents listed in the Seven Springs petition also included children, whose numbers likely helped petitioners meet another legal requirement — that a proposed village have at least 500 “regular inhabitants.”
Steven Barshov, the petitioners’ attorney, told the Times Herald-Record by email on Wednesday: “The Town’s rejection of the Seven Springs Incorporation petition is without any basis in law. The Town Supervisor has confused regular inhabitants with qualified voters and misapplied the 20% petition requirement.”
The Seven Springs petition provided no voter tally for the proposed village area, but 116 signatures almost certainly exceeded 20 percent of the qualified voters.
Cardone couldn’t be reached Wednesday. Brian Nugent, the town’s attorney, said he hadn’t received any response yet to the rejection letter but would consider any objections from the petitioners.
Cardone could still find other grounds to declare the petition legally “insufficient” if the signature objection is withdrawn. Under a sequence of deadlines in state law, he has until late April to either invalidate the petition or schedule a referendum for the residents of the area that would be incorporated.
The petition was filed in August, spurred by the frustration of property owners whose land and homes were excluded from Kiryas Joel’s annexation of 164 acres in 2016 and 64 more acres that were joined with Kiryas Joel in the new Town of Palm Tree. The proposed village takes in a Hasidic neighborhood west of Kiryas Joel and large land tracts on both sides of Route 17, all of which would be subject to new zoning.
The Seven Springs petition was on hold for seven months because of a conflicting court case that has now been withdrawn. That withdrawal on Feb. 27 reactivated the petition and triggered the timetable for its consideration under state email@example.com