WEST HAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. — The fear on Main Street in Westhampton Village just got more intense.
"I'm one of the fearful," admitted shop owner, Jim Flood, to PIX 11 News.
Flood is feeling uneasy because Verizon and LIPA have granted the East End eruv Association approval to use utility poles, to set an Orthodox religious boundary to accommodate members of the Hampton Synagogue.
"The majority of the people in this community don't want an eruv," said Westhampton Beach Mayor Conrad Teller.
An eruv is a boundary that allows Orthodox Jews to push a stroller or carry things on a public street that are normally prohibited on the sabbath.
"I feel that it could change the demographics of the town. This could become another Lawrence or Cedarhurst and just ruin the chemistry of this village, ruin the business climate and the desire to live here," said Flood.
A Catholic, Flood shares the same fears as many of his fellow shop owners and neighbors regardless of religion -- including the group Jewish people opposed to the eruv.
"We are Jewish people. We don't want to be delineated from the rest of the community," said Arnold Sheiffer
People who support the eruv, say fears the village will become a strictly orthodox enclave are nonsense.
The village plans to challenge the approvals, citing the same ordinances that prohibit missing dog and yard sale signs from being posted on utility poles should apply to the eruv.
"Somebody is trying to say they can circumvent our rules," said Teller.