Petition seeks more land from Monroe to build 2nd Hasidic village

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MONROE -

A bitter turf war between residents in an Orange County town is heating up again, a little more than a year after both sides reached an agreement to end it.

Tensions between Monroe residents and their Hasidic Jewish neighbors in Kiryas Joel had calmed after an agreement to split off the village into its own town, Palm Tree.

But a new petition is requesting more land from Monroe to form a second -- and much larger -- Hasidic community that would be called the Village of Seven Springs.

The proposed new village would span about 2 miles and more than a thousand acres.

"It's another attempt to skirt the present zoning laws, and it's not in the spirit of anything all the people of Monroe have accomplished," says John Allegro, a member of the community group United Monroe.

In the Palm Tree agreement, leaders in Kiryas Joel had pledged not to request any land annexations for 10 years. Allegro says he doesn't think they're behind the push.

He blames developers who want to alter zoning in the area.

An attorney for those developers released a vague statement Friday.

"The people who petitioned to form the Village of Seven Springs did so to control their own destiny and create the type of community they desire," it read.

Town officials say the plan needs review before they can hold a public hearing or eventual vote.

But even then, parts of the land are already the focus of several lawsuits that would need to be resolved first.

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