WOODMERE — Longtime Woodmere residents Gerald and Trina Carrier are looking to join another community. They do not plan to move because they live on Brainard Road on the municipal boundary between Woodmere and Orange Village. The Carriers are asking for a “release” to join Orange instead.
Mr. and Mrs. Carrier sent a letter to Woodmere Mayor Ben Holbert on Sept. 16 asking for a “release” from the village. A switch to Orange, they said, would provide them with residential benefits that they do not currently have in Woodmere, including residential and commercial growth, community parks, a garden and recreational trails. They also noted that Woodmere does not have an updated website or weekly communications to residents.
“We really hope that this can be resolved in our favor,” Mr. Carrier said last week. “We’re willing to pursue whatever remedies there are.”
He has lived in the village for 24 years and served eight years on Woodmere Village Council. Mrs. Carrier grew up in the village and has lived in her current location since 1969. Mr. Carrier said that they have been dissatisfied and considered asking for a release since the summer.
In the letter sent to Mayor Holbert, the Carriers noted that they would like the release to be completed by Dec. 1. Mr. Carrier said that they picked that date so there would be no confusion about their residency for the Nov. 3 election and it would give the family enough time to have a good start to 2021, if they were able to become residents of Orange.
Woodmere Law Director Frank Consolo said that village officials cannot grant the family a release. According to Woodmere’s charter, the electorate must vote for any territory to be annexed or detached from the village. This could go through a referendum process to get on the ballot or council could vote to put it on the ballot, according to Mr. Consolo.
“The council, the law director and the mayor don’t have that authority,” Mr. Consolo said of changing the municipal boundary.
The Carriers had a differing interpretation of the charter language. Mr. Carrier said that council or the electorate can vote to detach a territory, not both. They have asked Mr. Consolo and the council members to reconsider their request. Mr. Consolo said that the council may choose if they would like to proceed with Mr. Carrier’s request for his property to be detached from the village.
“We don’t want to lose anybody,” Mayor Holbert said. “I had a conversation with them and told them how valuable they are to us.”
Mayor Kathy Mulcahy of Orange Village advised the Carriers that they need Woodmere’s permission first to leave the community.