The state has decided to increase planned construction in the Samaria community of Beit El from a proposed 296 housing units to 650 units, Israel Hayom learned Monday.

Following the evacuation of the Beit El neighborhood of Ulpana in 2012, the state said it would compensate evicted residents by building some 300 new homes on an area that housed a Border Police base. While the base has been evacuated, the planning stages have been delayed for a plethora of reasons.

In 2015, the state again promised to build new homes in the community, this time to compensate for the eviction of Beit El’s Dreinhoff neighborhood. Now that the planning stages in the Civil Administration, which is responsible for Area C, have been completed, and following a two-year delay, construction is set to begin on the site in a month’s time.

The Beit El Council had worked with the Construction and Housing Ministry in an effort to expand the neighborhood from 296 to 650 housing units. Last week the ministry authorized the plan, which is expected to increase Beit El’s population by 65%.

Beit El Council head Shai Alon called the news “a wonderful present ahead of the [Jewish] new year.

“This is exciting news for the residents of Beit El and for the entire settlement movement. Thanks to our efforts, the council will grow by hundreds of housing units and thousands of new residents in the near future,” he said.