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Friday, January 28, 2011

Bethel, NY - Residents Trying to Stop Chasidic Group from Getting Sewer Services

Bethel, NY - A Satmar Hasidic group that went to war with town officials in 2009 and organized bloc votes against certain town officials is again at the center of a storm in Bethel.

Residents and two Town Board members are trying to stop the group from getting sewer services for future residential buildings off Route 17B on Schultz Road.

The colony is affiliated with the United Talmudical Academy, which had a highly publicized standoff with town officials in the summer of 2009 over the rapid construction of a synagogue and later started a petition drive targeting Town Board members. On Dec. 8, the Town Board voted by majority to extend the boundaries of the Kauneonga Lake Sewer District, prompting residents to gather petitions to force a permissive referendum on the extension.

Bethel Supervisor Daniel Sturm said the board had no good reason to deny the extension.

The applicant, Kollel Averichim Torah Veyirah, has asked for an extension across Schultz Road. Sturm said group members plan to tear down some old bungalows and build a couple of multifamily buildings on a 5-acre parcel near the synagogue.

Roughly 90 residents of the district signed the petition, which was filed with the town this month. Kollel has challenged the legitimacy of the petition in state Supreme Court. The matter is tied up in court.

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