MONROE - On Tuesday, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus pledged that the county will take an active role in overseeing a controversial land deal to double in size the ultra-Orthodox Hassidic community of Kiryas Joel. 

After weeks of allegations and rising tensions on both sides, the attorney hired by the consulting firm spearheading the annexation called the intense criticism anti-Semitic. 

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United Monroe, a group against the annexation, says its concerns have nothing to do with religion or culture, but rather the impact of the proposed plan.

Orange County Legislator Mike Anagnostakis says that Kiryas Joel gets more social services than dozens of municipalities combined. 

The Town of Monroe held its first public hearing on the controversial land deal Monday night.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is in the process of reviewing the plan. The decision is expected within the next few weeks.