There have been reports today in various media outlets claiming that the Orthodox community’s lawsuit against Jackson Township has been “settled” following the Township’s introduction of a resolution to allow Eruv placement on utility poles.
These reports are blatantly inaccurate.
Rabbi Avi Schnall, Director of Agudath Israel’s New Jersey Office, the lead plaintiff, explains the status of the lawsuit:
“We are currently engaged in mediation with Jackson Township,” Rabbi Schnall told TLS. “While we are encouraged by the Township’s Resolution, no settlement has yet been reached. We are not at the end, and much more still needs to be worked out. We remain hopeful for a positive resolution.”
Agudath Israel’s lawsuit also covers two additional discriminatory Jackson ordinances: the dormitory ban throughout the Township; and the ban on building Yeshivos in residential areas, which is essentially the only realistic option. Neither of these two bans have been addressed by the Township yet.
Rabbi Schnall commends the Township for the proposed Eruv ordinance; he sees it as a signal of goodwill and the desire to cooperate. He notes that the recent trial decision against the Village of Pomona, NY, and its discriminatory zoning laws highlight how futile and costly it is to a municipality and its taxpayers to fight for discriminatory ordinances. Attorney Roman Storzer, who is representing the plaintiffs in Jackson suit, represented the successful plaintiffs in Pomona, as well as in a similar case last year in Ocean, NJ.
“It is our hope that all matters will be promptly resolved in mediation, benefitting both Orthodox and non-Orthodox residents who seek to live in harmony and avoid unnecessary taxpayer expenditures,” Rabbi Schnall concludes.