05/17/2010: Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rules for Rocky Mountain Christian Church in major RLUIPA victory against Boulder County
Contrary to the County’s claims, the district court plainly weighed the County’s zoning interests: the court did not agree that RMCC’s special use application violated the County Land Use Code, and found that RMCC’s statutory right to free exercise of religion outweighed the negative impacts of expansion on the community.
S&G, together with co-counsel Sidley Austin LLP, filed a brief amicus curiae supporting the Rocky Mountain Christian Church. The brief was filed on behalf of the American Jewish Congress, The National Council of Churches, the Queens Federation of Churches, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom.
Opposing the Church were various anti-RLUIPA groups, including the International Municipal Lawyers Association, National League of Cities, and the American Planning Association:
The denial caught the attention of land-use experts across the country, who were particularly surprised that such a decision would be handed down in a case related to Boulder County, which is known for its rigorous land-use rules.
Boulder County’s denied appeal in church expansion garners national attention, Laura Snyder, Daily Camera (May 21, 2010).