Hunt Valley Presbyterian Church (the “Church”) has sued Baltimore County, Maryland and the Board of Appeals of Baltimore County (together, “Baltimore County”), challenging Baltimore County’s conditional approval of the Church’s development plan, which sought to expand an existing house of worship. This is the fourth congregation to bring RLUIPA claims against Baltimore County in the past year. See our previous posts here and here.
Specifically, the Church alleges that the conditions imposed on approval require it to, among other things, provide its neighbors and other interested persons with advance notice of scheduled and special events and stagger its Sunday worship services. Additionally, the Church contends that the condition regarding water runoff, which requires the Church to “take any and all immediate and reasonable measures to address and eliminate” any water collection issues connected to the Church’s property, will be “impossible to comply with,” as runoff, pooling and drainage are existing issues in the area and on the property.
The Church’s Complaint, available here, alleges that Baltimore County has violated RLUIPA’s substantial burden provision, as well as the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, and the Maryland Constitution.