Late last year, a federal court in Florida issued a decision in favor of Church of Our Savior, which wished to build a place of worship on Beach Boulevard (“Property”) in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. In Church of Our Savior v. City of Jacksonville, (M.D. FL 2014), the Middle District Court of Florida found the City violated RLUIPA’s equal terms provision (as applied), but rejected the Church’s RLUIPA substantial burden, unreasonable limits, and facial equal terms claims. The district court agreed with Our Savior that one of the two schools it presented as equal terms comparators was sufficiently similar to demonstrate that the City had implemented a “land use regulation in a manner that treats a religious assembly or institution on less than equal terms with a nonreligious assembly or institution.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc(b)(1). The court found that Discovery Montessori School was a similarly situated, equal terms comparator because: (1) both uses were similarly small and relatively low-impact; (2) the surrounding properties were not strictly low-density, single family homes; and (3) both applicants faced objections by neighbors and questions from Department members regarding “traffic, fit with the neighborhood, and the impact on property values.” The City also failed to establish a compelling interest that was narrowly tailored to justify the “unequal” treatment. For a complete discussion of the court’s holding and case facts, see our December 8, 2014 post. The court’s decision noted its intention to order the City to grant the Church a conditional use permit. However, the court requested that the parties meet and discuss what “reasonable” conditions might be appropriate. As part of the court’s order, it encouraged “the parties to take this opportunity to discuss settlement of the entire case without further court involvement.” The court also explained that it would hear requests for attorneys’ fees or costs at a later date, if not resolved by the parties. Religious applicants that are successful in RLUIPA litigation are generally entitled to attorneys’ fees. In January, the court ordered that the parties enter mediation with a previously appointed mediator. On February 2, the mediator reported that the parties’ discussions had “reached an impasse” regarding the establishment of reasonable permit conditions and other matters—including attorneys’ fees. One news source reports that fees now equal $694,018. According to the latest court order, a status conference with the court is scheduled for February 10. In anticipation of the status conference, attorney for Our Savior, Dan Dalton, commented, “the Church truly desires to amicably settle this matter and is hopeful a just resolution will result from the hearing with the Court.” We also requested comments from the attorneys representing Jacksonville Beach. They have not yet responded, but we will update our post if we receive any comment.