AIRMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A discrimination lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Orthodox Jewish residents in the Rockland County village of Airmont.

The U.S. attorney in the Southern District claims the village used zoning provisions to restrict Jewish people from worshipping in private homes and running a religious school.

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It’s the third time since 1991 the village has been sued by the federal government for religious discrimination.


The last court-ordered consent decree against Airmont expired in 2015. Since then, the village has actively sought to prevent its Hasidic Jewish residents from operating home synagogues and a private religious school, according to the lawsuit filed in White Plains federal court.

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The lawsuit alleges regulations imposed by the village 27 miles (43 kilometers) north of New York City violate the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.

Among other actions cited in the lawsuit, the village amended its zoning code in 2018 to strike “residential place of worship” as a recognized land use category, in violation of the terms of the judgment entered by the court in 1996.

The lawsuit says the village imposed a land-use moratorium designed to prevent the growing Hasidic community from developing property and targeted Hasidic residents with the threat of unfounded zoning violation fines.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)