PELHAM, N. Y (Jun. 10)
A proposed amendment to the zoning ordinances of the Village of North Pelham was condemned at a meeting of the village board of trustees as a discriminatory piece of legislation designed “to bar the Jew in this community. “
The amendment, submitted by the Pelhamwood Association, a property-owners’ group, was supported by petitions signed by more than 50 property-owners. It would provide that “no building be used, erected or altered as an educational or religious building unless and until a special permit is obtained from the Board of Trustees after a public hearing.”
Introduction of the measure followed enactment of a similar measure in Pelham Manor to bar use of a house there as a Jewish community center. Joseph Mandell, an attorney, told the board that introduction of the proposed amendment in North Pelham followed an “unfounded rumor” that the Jewish center was seeking a location in the North Pelham jurisdiction. He commented that “it is too much to believe that there is no discriminatory aspect to it.
“If this is a piece of legislation to bar the Jew in this community, then it must be damned, ” he insisted. Other critics condemned the proposed ordinance as a violation of religious rights and as being unconstitutional. The village attorney expressed belief the measure might be unconstitutional.
Spokesmen for the property-owners denied any intent to discriminate or to interfere with religious freedom, argued that the village had enough church facilities and said the measure was necessary to protect property values. Action was deferred for further study of the measure by the village board.