Preservationists are opposed to the replacement of a crumbling church structure, claiming that "there's a broader community interest here," and "It's kind of their symbol of their community, if you will." S&G previously filed suit on behalf of the St. John United Church of Christ, resulting in the removal of its historic landmark designation.
In 2010, it had an agreement with the former Gershman Brown Crowley developer to build a CVS. But the city of Indianapolis stepped in to protect the church by granting it landmark status. The church, in turn, filed a federal lawsuit saying the designation by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission violated their constitutional rights to freely exercise their religion. The lawsuit was settled in 2011 when the church agreed to give the preservation group Indiana Landmarks six months to find a buyer that would save the building. The city rescinded the designation, according to the terms of the settlement, when it couldn’t find a buyer.
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Bensalem Masjid v. Bensalem Township, PA
12/08/2014: Bensalem Masjid challenges Township's zoning scheme regulating religious institutions
On December 8, 2014, the Bensalem Masjid (represented by S&G & Philadelphia attorney Ryan Tack-Hooper) filed suit against Bensalem Township and the Bensalem Township Zoning Hearing Board, asserting its rights under RLUIPA, the First Amendment, and Pennsylvania's Religious Freedom Protection Act for the Township's failure to permit it to use its property as a house of worship. This action challenges "Bensalem Township’s scheme for regulating religious land uses—by banning places of worship throughout the Township except for scant individual parcels located throughout its jurisdiction and already occupied—[which] effectively grants the Township and Board unbridled discretion to permit favored religious land uses and prohibit disfavored religious land uses," and the denial of a variance to use its 4+ acre property. read more »
Spirit of Aloha Temple v. County of Maui
11/26/2014: S&G client files suit against County of Maui & Maui Planning Commission
The Spirit of Aloha Temple, located in the Paia-Haiku area on Maui, has filed a RLUIPA suit against the Maui Planning Commission and Maui County, Hawaii challenging the denial of their special use permit to hold small religious gatherings of 24 to 40 people on its 11-acre property. The property, which is currently being used to provide botanical tours for greater numbers of people, was determined by the Planning Commission to not meet Maui's special use permit criteria based on "traffic" impacts. read more »
Greenwich Reform Synagogue v. Town of Greenwich, Conn.
11/24/2014: Federal court confirms settlement between Greenwich Reform Synagogue and Town of Greenwich, Connecticut
The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut today confirmed the Settlement Agreement between the Greenwich Reform Synagogue, the Town of Greenwich and its Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals. The settlement commits the Board of Appeals to issue a Special Exception for the construction of the planned Synagogue within ten days, and other Town land use agencies to promptly act on the other permits required. read more »
For media coverage of the Greenwich Reform Synagogue settlement: read more »