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Highland Mills, NY - Eruv Regulations On The Agenda At Upcoming Town Of Woodbury Meeting

Published on: November 26, 2018 09:02 PM
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Workers in Highland Mills are seen attaching PVC pipes to utility poles to serve as an Eruv. (cortesy)Workers in Highland Mills are seen attaching PVC pipes to utility poles to serve as an Eruv. (cortesy)

Highland Mills, NY - Yet another community is trying to figure out how to regulate an eruv within its borders, with the Orange County Town of Woodbury holding a hearing tomorrow night to discuss a pending eruv law.

Mayor Michael Queenan said that he has met with the town’s Chasidic residents hoping that accommodations can be made to satisfy everyone who lives in Woodbury.

“We are not trying to prohibit eruvs,” Mayor Queenan told VIN News.  “We want to regulate them in a way that is useful to the people who want to use them and is safe for our other residents.”

Under the proposed law, an eruv would be required to be between eight and 20 feet high and would have to be either translucent or color-matched to any supporting structure. 

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Eruvim would not be permitted to cross any public roadway and written consent would be required for an eruv to go over private property. Homeowners would be taxed for the value of any eruv on their property and if the proposed legislation is enacted, any eruv found to be in violation would have to be removed within 90 days.

Legislating eruvim is perfectly in keeping with existing Woodbury laws, insisted Queenan, who noted that homeowners are required to obtain permits before constructing any decks, sheds or fences on their property.

Town law also prohibits residents from mounting cameras on utility poles and a recently enacted moratorium bans small 5G cell phone towers from being placed on telephone poles until a determination can be made how to deal with these new devices. 

While the Woodbury eruv committee has secured permission from the local utility company to use its poles as part of an eruv that is already under construction, the new law would require all PVC pipes placed on the wooden utility poles to be brown for greater uniformity.

“We want things to be aesthetically pleasing and if something is being run up a pole, we want it to match,” noted Queenan.

Smaller eruvim that allow residents to carry outside on their own property on Shabbos already dot the lawns of many a Chasidic homeowner in Woodbury. 

Queenan said that he bumped into one eruv wire as he was walking down a street and had to step onto a private lawn for a moment.

“It was only five feet tall and was in the public right of way,” explained Queenan.

One Chasidic town resident who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution said that Woodbury should welcome the town-wide eruv which would be virtually invisible and would give residents the ability to remove their private eruvim, which some have found to be an eyesore. 

The larger Woodbury eruv would be constructed mostly on utility poles and, in areas where power lines run underground, attached to fencing that would run behind private properties.

According to the resident, the eruv is being constructed in accordance with town law, but permits to put up fencing needed for the eruv have been stonewalled.

“Every day they come up with a different reason why we shouldn’t get the permits,” said the resident.  “They keep trying to block us in every possible way. The inspector keeps telling us that the entire eruv has to come down before we can discuss anything.”

Woodbury’s Chasidic families have been trying hard to work with local officials and have had very positive meetings with Mayor Queenan, said the resident, but many feel that they have been unfairly singled out when it comes to enforcement of local laws.“

They are fighting with us about the shuls and about yomim tovim while we never say a word about Fourth of July fireworks or Halloween,” said the resident. 

“Just last week every resident our block got a ticket because they brought in their garbage cans after the trash was picked up but they were less than 20 feet from the curb.”

In another incident, a Chasidic worker who was attaching PVC pipes to utility poles for the eruv was allegedly stopped every 10 minutes by someone asking him what he was doing.

“We brought in another yid last week who didn’t have payos or a beard,” reported the resident. “Not a single person stopped him. Not one.”

Members of the Woodbury eruv committee have been working with Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz of the Bergen Rockland Eruv Association who most recently was involved with the contentious construction of eruvim in several northern New Jersey communities, all of which managed to survive legal hurdles. 

According to the Woodbury resident, the law firm of Weil, Gotshal and Manges, which has successfully litigated several lawsuits regarding eruvim, has already agreed to take on the case on a pro bono basis should a lawsuit arise.



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Read Comments (7)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 27, 2018 at 12:04 AM Shopaholicker Rebbe Says:

Can't wait for the eruv. Now I'll be able to carry a glayzalah tay and eiyer kichel to Woodbury Commons when I take my shabbos walk.

2

 Nov 27, 2018 at 08:52 AM PaulinSaudi Says:

I cannot imagine why a eruv is an issue for any non-Jew. How do they even know it is there?

3

 Nov 27, 2018 at 10:13 AM shimonyehuda Says:

Reply to #2  
PaulinSaudi Says:

I cannot imagine why a eruv is an issue for any non-Jew. How do they even know it is there?

the eruv is in public space, that could be an issue.

4

 Nov 27, 2018 at 10:52 AM me thinks not really Says:

Reply to #3 i dont really think the public space is an issue the issue with the eruv is simple Eisav sonei es Yakov They hate us and this is an oppurtunity for them to make us struggle

5

 Nov 27, 2018 at 11:17 AM ercsd Says:

What is his problem with fourth of July fireworks and Halloween? All across America people celebrate the fourth with fireworks and kids celebrate Halloween.
They occur one day a year.

6

 Nov 27, 2018 at 07:15 PM KD Says:

Reply to #2  
PaulinSaudi Says:

I cannot imagine why a eruv is an issue for any non-Jew. How do they even know it is there?

Read the article:

Queenan said that he bumped into one eruv wire as he was walking down a street and had to step onto a private lawn for a moment.
“It was only five feet tall and was in the public right of way,”

7

 Nov 30, 2018 at 12:32 AM favish Says:

Reply to #1  
Shopaholicker Rebbe Says:

Can't wait for the eruv. Now I'll be able to carry a glayzalah tay and eiyer kichel to Woodbury Commons when I take my shabbos walk.

......and someone who has little children , or one who cant walk and needs a wheelchair.So its not only 'eierkichel. If id know if your a soine yisroel i would wish it on you so you know what it feels like

8

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