By Nathan Mayberg
KIAMESHA LAKE August 9, 2005 A hearing on the Village of Ateres, a proposal by a Hasidic community to incorporate itself within the town as its own municipality, will be held September 7 at 3:30 p.m. in the Town of Thompson Hall near Monticello.
The hearing, presided over by Town of Thompson Supervisor Anthony Cellini, is meant to determine whether the application by the group was completed correctly. If Cellini determines the group came up short, they could take the town to New York State Supreme Court.
Representatives from the community recently appeared in front of the town board in a back-and-forth discussion.
Leaders of the religious group have admitted they want to create their own 377-acre village in order to bypass the towns zoning laws so as to build at a higher density. That would allow them to bring in several hundred additional residents, on top of the 53 families who currently live there throughout the year. There is also a yeshiva, or religious school, that is attended by over 200 students.
The land is located in Kiamesha Lake off Gibber Road and includes Feldman Circle, Gafen Lane, Silver Terrace and Yeshiva Road. It would be called the Village of Ateres.
Cellini said he asked group leaders if they would withdraw their petition and discuss their issues with him and the board in order to avoid hearings and a possible legal battle.
They said they would get back to me, said Cellini.
Cellini said he is willing to negotiate with them but added, We already have traffic problems on Route 42. Our zoning is fair now. Will they have to build their own sewer line and fire department if they want to become a village? . . . What kind of an effect will it have on the tax base?
The Monticello Board of Education is wondering the same thing and have asked their attorney, Richard Baum, to look into the matter. Cellini and the board are also worried about negative effects to the town, like they believe have happened in Monroe with Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic community.
Chayim Fried, the groups liaison, did not return a call for comment.