Archives: Nondiscrimination

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When is Mixed-Use Religious Exercise?

A Connecticut federal court has issued an important decision in a case involving the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) that could affect how municipalities and courts examine whether certain proposals are religious uses protected by the statute.  The 2016 decision in Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County, Inc. v. Borough of Litchfield is … Continue Reading

Is a Parsonage a Primary Use? NJ District Court Ponders the Question

Christian Community Chapel Wesleyan Church, Inc. (the “Chapel”) was founded in 2000 and grew quickly to 125 members.  Expecting continued growth, the Chapel purchased a 33,000 square foot building with seats for 600 worshipers.  Unfortunately for the Chapel, its membership fluctuated greatly over the next ten years, at one point dropping to 35 members.  Its … Continue Reading

Upcoming Webinar: Planning for Religious Uses Under the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act

The Planning and Law Division of the American Planning Association is pleased to host the upcoming webcast Planning for Religious Uses Under The Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act on Thursday, October 22, 2015 from 1:00 to 2:30 PM ET. Registration is $20 for PLD members, $40 for nonmembers, and $45 for the webinar … Continue Reading

Mosque’s RLUIPA Claims Move Forward

Almost a year ago, we reported on The Bensalem Masjid, Inc.’s lawsuit against Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania following the Township’s denial of Masjid’s use variance application to build a 16,900-square foot mosque, including a 500-square foot conference room, a 4,000-square foot multipurpose room and 154 parking spaces (prior post here).  After five sessions of the public … Continue Reading

Illinois Federal Court Dismisses Some, But Not All, RLUIPA Claims

A federal court in Illinois, in Church of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ v. City of Markham, Illinois (N.D. Ill. 2015), dismissed some of the Church’s religious land use claims while allowing others to proceed. The case is important for a couple of reasons. First, it serves as a welcome reminder for local governments that … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Dismisses RLUIPA Complaint of “Indigenous/Aboriginal Free Moorish National”

In Bey v. City of Tampa Code Enforcement (11th Cir. 2015), the plaintiff Nura Washington Bey (“Washington”) sued the City of Tampa and its Code Enforcement Officer, Steven Mateyka, after Mateyka cited Washington in connection with her use of property to practice her Islamic faith with “fellow Moorish nationals.”  The citation noted that Washington had … Continue Reading

Illinois Appellate Court Interprets Equal Terms “Comparator” Favorably for Local Government

In an important decision for local governments, the Illinois Appellate Court on March 6, 2015 issued its decision in Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary School (“JDBY”) v. City of Evanston. The decision, particularly the Appellate Court’s assessment of comparators and its willingness to look past some boorish comments by a local official, may prove damaging … Continue Reading

A Gun in Every Home, But Not a Mosque on Every Corner: RLUIPA Lawsuit on the Way?

On December 1, the Kennesaw, Georgia City Council voted 4 to 1 to deny a land use application by Suffa Dawat Center (the “Center”) to establish an Islamic place of worship and education center in a retail shopping plaza.  Kennesaw, population 29,783, is a suburb of Atlanta.  Family Circle magazine selected it as one of … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Revives Chabad Groups RLUIPA Suit

On September 19, 2014, the Second Circuit issued its decision in Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County, Inc. v. Borough of Litchfield (2d Cir. 2014), reversing the lower court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the Borough of Litchfield concerning some of its claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).  The … Continue Reading

Michigan Federal Court Dismisses Alger Bible Baptist Churchs RLUIPA Suit

In an important decision for municipalities across the country, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has ruled that excluding religious institutions from certain zoning districts on the grounds that they do not generate tax revenue is a legitimate exercise of zoning power if (1) the intent of the district is … Continue Reading

Harvest Covenant Church Settles RLUIPA Suit Against City of Milwaukee

After more than a year of litigation, Harvest Covenant Church (“Harvest”) and the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (“City”) have settled Harvest’s lawsuit alleging that the City’s zoning code and its actions in denying Harvest a special permit to operate a church violated federal and state law.  It all started in October 2009 when Harvest’s pastor … Continue Reading
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