In 2015, Rockland Electric entered into a License Agreement with an organization to allow facilities related to an eruv to be installed on the utility’s poles in Bergen County, with the utility profiting from this agreement. It has been reported that the project plans to attach wires to 113 poles in Mahwah, 40 in USR and 27 in Montvale.
The Mayor and Council never approved the installation of the eruv. Rockland Electric did not notify the Borough of the agreement or the pending installation despite the fact that the Borough has an ordinance in place, (#16-15) which prohibits the placement of items on utility poles, of which Rockland Electric was aware.
Borough attorney Robert Regan instructed Orange and Rockland to remove the eruv on Monday, July 18.
On Wednesday, July 26 and Thursday, July 27, portions of the newly installed eruv in Mahwah and Upper Saddle River were vandalized. A police investigation is underway and one arrest has been made.
On Friday, July 25, two Airmont, NY residents filed suit again the Borough in Federal District Court in Newark, seeking to prevent the Borough from removing the eruv installed on Orange and Rockland’s poles in our town.
The Borough agreed to allow the repair of the vandalized portions of the eruv, in return for the cessation of additional installation. The Borough also agreed to delay removing existing eruv at this time.
At a special meeting held on Monday, July 31, the Governing Body retained Special Counsel, Bruce Rosen, of the McKusker Law Firm, an experienced litigator in Federal courts, who has handled cases involving eruv installations.
Special Counsel is exploring all options available to the Borough. The Governing Body will aggressively fight to enforce our ordinance.
This is a matter of excessive entanglement with religion and violation of municipal ordinances. It is not directed at any particular religious group. The Governing Body will not tolerate or countenance any anti-Semitic or otherwise discriminatory comments at our public meetings and urge residents to avoid any such statements on social media or elsewhere. Such statements will not be helpful to the Borough’s position and are totally inappropriate.
On the advice of legal counsel, the Governing Body will not be making any further statements at this time but will keep residents informed as the case progresses.