KIAMESHA LAKE—On August 3, a joint public hearing will take place at 5 p.m. at Khal Toras Chaim Viznitz Shul Gibbers, located by Kiamesha Lake at 169 Barnes Blvd. The purpose of this hearing is …
KIAMESHA LAKE—On August 3, a joint public hearing will take place at 5 p.m. at Khal Toras Chaim Viznitz Shul Gibbers, located by Kiamesha Lake at 169 Barnes Blvd. The purpose of this hearing is to address a petition that seeks to incorporate a new village within the Town of Thompson.
The purpose of this joint public hearing lies in the fact that some of the proposed village’s parcels extend into the Town of Fallsburg, necessitating the involvement of both Thompson Town Supervisor Bill Rieber Jr. and Fallsburg Supervisor Katherine Rappaport.
The proposed new village, to be named the “Village of Ateres,” is slated to house at least 500 inhabitants, the majority of whom are from the Orthodox Jewish community.
Town Supervisor Rieber expressed concerns about the motives behind the incorporation, labeling it as a “scheme” to attain control over housing regulations.
The Democrat reached out to the legal representatives for the proposed village but did not hear back by presstime.
According to the petition, the population satisfies the area requirements set forth by New York Village Law, ensuring that it does not exceed five square miles.
The petition further states that there are 308 qualified voters residing in the Town of Thompson and 14 in the Town of Fallsburg, culminating in a total of 322 eligible voters within the Incorporation Territory. This number fulfills the 20 percent requirement, which is mandated by law to incorporate a village.
How to incorporate a village
When it comes to incorporating a village, New York law says that a public hearing must be held to address any objections to the legal sufficiency of the petition.
If either Supervisor Rieber or Supervisor Rappaport deems the petition invalid, it may end up in the court system. In that case, a judge will be tasked with deciding whether to permit the community to establish the Village of Ateres. However, if both supervisors find the petition to be valid, the village incorporation can progress unhindered, according to Rieber.
In Albany, an update to the village incorporation law proposed by Senator James Skoufis is currently sitting on Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk. The proposed amendments aim to modernize the law, which has seen minimal change since the 1800s.
Among the proposed changes is an increase in the minimum population required to create a village from 500 to 2000. Additionally, the updated law would necessitate a comprehensive analysis of financial sustainability, taxation matters, and the overall viability of the proposed village.
Earlier this year, the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University conducted a study on New York’s Village Incorporation Law. The study highlighted several ways in which the law could be enhanced through legislative reforms.
Recommendations included basing village incorporation decisions on thorough data and analysis, adjusting the minimum population requirement to ensure village viability, and updating the petition signature requirements to reflect the interests of those affected by the proposed incorporation.
Supervisor Rieber noted that if such an updated law were in place today, the current petition for the Village of Ateres might be moot.
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