NY AG: Impending Orange County village rule restricts Orthodox Jews' rights

NY AG: Impending Orange County village rule restricts Orthodox Jews’ rights

According to recent reports, the Attorney General’s Office of New York State has requested that the Village of Monroe, located in Orange County, refrain from enacting a law that would infringe upon the rights of Orthodox Jewish residents.

The Village of Monroe Place of Worship and Schools Local Law, also known as Proposed Local Law 5, aims to introduce new zoning regulations for residential gatherings, places of worship, and schools. The proposed law would require special use permits and is set to be adopted by the Village Board of Trustees at their upcoming meeting on Thursday night.

The attorney general’s office recently sent a letter to Village of Monroe Mayor Neil Dwyer expressing their concern that the proposed law may infringe on the rights of Orthodox Jews to practice their religion, and may also violate state and federal law. As a result, the AG’s office is requesting that the village defer passing the proposal until further review. Additionally, the office has requested that the village provide written justification for the proposed law by September 29th.

The Board of Trustees has put forward a proposal citing the need for increased regulation due to the rise in large gatherings taking place in residential areas, particularly for religious purposes but potentially for other activities protected by the First Amendment. The Board has expressed concern regarding the safety of these gatherings, especially when held in residential buildings on a regular basis.

Neil Dwyer, the Village Mayor, has not yet responded to a comment request. However, a special meeting of the Board of Trustees has been scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m.

Located within the Town of Monroe, the Village of Monroe has been embroiled in political and zoning conflicts for years, particularly with regard to the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities. The town has even seen the creation of a new town, Palm Tree, which was formed to accommodate the Satmar Hasidic community.

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