Indianapolis' Metropolitan Development Commission voted 4-2 in favor of a developer's request to rezone site with a formerly landmarked church owned by S&G client St. John Untied Church of Christ.
Church leaders say the aging building needs at least $750,000 in repairs—money the dwindling congregation doesn’t have. It’s building a new and smaller church on part of a 50-acre tract the church owns at the northwest corner of East Prospect Street and Carroll Road.
Indianapolis Business Journal article here. read more »
Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov v. Village of Pomona, N.Y.
04/23/2015: U.S. Department of Justice files amicus brief supporting constitutionality of RLUIPA in Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov's lawsuit against Pomona, N.Y.
In response to the Village of Pomona's arguments that RLUIPA is unconstitutional on its face and as applied in the Congregation's lawsuit challenging the Village's enactment of various laws preventing the Congregation from using its 100-acre property to train rabbinical judges, the United States Department of Justice intervened to defend the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, together with the Congregation. read more »
The Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County Law Division, granted S&G client Dayalbagh Radhoasoami Satsang Association of North America's (DRSANA) motion to dismiss a complaint challenging the federal settlement between DRSANA and the Township of Old Bridge Zoning Board of Adjustment. The settlement permits DRSANA to "build, occupy and operate on [their] property as described in the Settlement Agreement between DRSANA, the Township, and the Zoning Board," subject to site plan and subdivision approval. The operation of DRSANA's planned religious facility includes a place of worship, parsonage and ten dwelling units in five residential duplex homes. The settlement, which was incorporated into a federal consent order, was challenged by a third party opposed to such development. read more »
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.
read more »
Philadelphia Magazine reports on S&G client Bensalem Masjid's lawsuit against Bensalem Township, Pa.
Bensalem has its fair share of churches and other houses of worship. The Bucks County township of 60,000 has Catholic churches, Protestant churches, synagogues, a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall, and a Buddhist Temple. And there are two Hindu temples under development. But if you’re a Bensalem Muslim, you’re out of luck, because Bensalem doesn’t have a mosque. Instead, local Muslims meet once a week for Friday prayers inside a rented fire hall. The Bensalem Masjid, a religious organization with some 200 families in its congregation, wants to change that but says that Bensalem Township and its Zoning Hearing Board haven’t exactly rolled out the red carpet for its proposed mosque (rendering above) on the 3800 block of Hulmeville Road, which has several other houses of worship within a one-mile radius. And now the group has filed a lawsuit (below) against the township and the board in federal court.