UPDATE: On Feb. 15th, Judge Vazquez entered a retention order and closed the case. Normally, after a case is over, a new action may be necessary to enforce the terms of the agreement. This order lets the court retain jurisdiction so that if there is a need to enforce the settlement, a letter can be filed asking the case to be re-opened.
UPDATE 2: Information and paragraph numbers in the settlement were added for ease of reading.
In settlement papers filed with the court today, Montvale has given up on their six month campaign aimed at prohibiting an eruv in the Borough.
The agreement contains an Exhibit A showing the agreed upon path of the Eruv through the Borough.
In a vote yesterday, the Montvale Council agreed to settle claims brought by the Bergen Rockland Eruv Association against the Municipality for threatening to prohibit an eruv erected in a section of the Borough.
Within 30 days, the Borough will pay the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP $10,000 to cover some legal costs, pursuant to paragraph 20 of the agreement.
The Eruv Association will attempt to use black narrow strips or black or brown color for the pvc piping on the poles (called lechis) unless required to use another color by the Utility companies.
Montvale will have 45 days to get necessary permissions to use the path identified in the accompanying map. If they cannot get the required permission from private property owners, the BREA may use the map included in the original complaint:
Aside from the $10,000 payment, each party will bear their own litigation costs which may have been hundreds of thousands of dollars had this gone further.
Pursuant to the agreement:
- Montvale will secure all consents necessary to allow the eruv to be constructed, and checked on a weekly bases in public areas (paragraph 9).
- Montvale will grant any applications for new posts if necessary to effectuate the plans in the map (paragraph 9).
- Montvale will make sure the BREA has consent to enter private properties to check on the Eruv at least three times per year, although inspections will be conducted from roadways and publicly accessible areas whenever possible. (paragraph 10).
- If any approvals are required after the initial eruv goes up, Montvale will promptly grant the approvals (paragraph 11)
- If Montvale and the Eruv Association can’t get a valid eruv up in 45 days based on the map provided in exh. A, the Eruv Association can put up the eruv according to the plan outlined in the original complaint (paragraph 12).
- If Montvale ever moves to underground electric cabling, they agree to work in good faith to reestablish the eruv (paragraph 13).
- No public funds will go towards the Eruv (paragraph 16).
- The Borough will cooperate with BREA in any challenges brought against Montvale challenging the enforceability of the agreement and BREA shall handle the legal defense (paragraph 18)
- Plaintiffs will not initiate any new litigation against Montvale for at least 2 years as long as they abide by the agreement (paragraph 19).
- Plaintiffs agree not to file any further charges with any local, state or federal agency against the Township and/or any of its employees, agents or administrators arising from dealings that have occurred up to and through the date of execution by all Parties to this Agreement (paragraph 19).
- Montvale will provide $10,000 for attorneys fees to the plaintiff’s law firm, Weil, Goshal & Manges LLP (paragraph 20).
- Montvale recognizes the decision in Tenafly, that “the erection of the eruv is not an unconstitutional establishment of religion under the First Amendment.” (paragraph 21)
- Montvale will not contest or challenge O&R or Verizon’s authority to enter into contracts with BREA (paragraph 22)
- Montvale will not adopt any ordinance or resolution prohibiting an Eruv (paragraph 24)
- If the Township violates the agreement, the plaintiffs may seek an expedited and immediate injunctive relief through an order from the court (paragraph 26).
THE CONSTITUTION WINS; THE ERUV BENEFITS17cv8632_15