July 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Gov. Hochul Vetoes ‘Antisemitic’ Conservation Bill

(JNS) New York Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed a bill on land conservation that some Jewish groups say is antisemitism in disguise.

The bill, A5761, would have allowed the town of Blooming Grove, in Orange County, to create a “community preservation fund” with property transfer tax dollars aimed at preserving open spaces and farmland.

Blooming Grove is less than 10 miles north of the Chasidic enclave of Kiryas Joel, which has a population of some 30,000 people, nearly all of them chassidim. In recent years, members of the Orthodox community have been moving to nearby towns, including Chester and Blooming Grove. Restrictions on home building and land development are seen by some as an attempt to limit the growth of the Orthodox community in the region.

According to the Agudath Israel of America, which had been lobbying against the legislation for several months, “the real purpose of the bill is to buy up open lands in order to keep Chasidic Jews from purchasing this land and building homes in Blooming Grove …”

The bill had passed the state senate by a margin of 2-1 with 43 state legislators approving the measure and 20 opposing it.

In vetoing the bill, Hochul wrote: “There have been well-documented tensions in Orange County between local elected officials and members of the Chasidic community. Similar tensions in the nearby town of Chester resulted in litigation. It would be inappropriate to sign this legislation at this juncture, while facts are still being gathered about the situation. Therefore, I am constrained to veto this bill.”

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