Our land use lawyers represent clients in matters involving the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), a federal law requiring local governments when implementing and enforcing their land use regulations to do so without burdening the religious exercise of religious institutions and to treat them the same as non-religious institutions. Oftentimes, when a local government denies a religious institution's application to build a house of worship or to expand a building to accommodate its religious practice, the religious institution will sue under RLUIPA claiming discrimination by the local government. These cases may be emotionally-charged with high stakes, and can dramatically impact the interests of all stakeholders – developers, governmental entities and landowners, including religious institutions.
Our land use lawyers frequently speak and write about RLUIPA. Since 2012, they have published a blog, RLUIPA Defense which is a resource for municipalities to avoid or defend against RLUIPA claims, and which also is frequently updated to contain the latest RLUIPA news and legal developments.
Our lawyers have experience representing local governments, advocacy groups, and religious institutions in RLUIPA litigation. Our representative matters include those listed below under "Experience."
Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov, Inc. v. Village of Pomona, New York, U.S. District Dist. Court, Southern District of New York. Defending the Village of Pomona, New York in defending RLUIPA claims brought by a religious organization which is attempting to by-pass the required land use application procedure and process.
St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich, Inc. v. City of Norwich, U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut. Filed RLUIPA litigation and administrative appeals in connection with City's denial of soup kitchen's applications to operate out of a former religious school adjacent to the church building.
Rocky Mountain Christian Church v. Board of County Commissioners, Boulder County, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Represented Boulder County, Colorado in defending RLUIPA and related claims brought by church looking to expand on rural site.
San Jose Christian College v. City of Morgan Hill, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Represented American Planning Association as amicus curiae to support City of Morgan Hill's defense of RLUIPA lawsuit brought by religious institution seeking to establish religious college.
City of San Leandro v. International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, United States Supreme Court. Represented California Chapter of American Planning Association as amicus curiae in supporting City of San Leandro, California's petition for a writ of certiorari before United States Supreme Court.
Promise Land Church of God v.City of West Haven, Connecticut Superior Court, Judicial District of New Haven. Represented religious institution after denial of site plan and special permit approvals for relocation/expansion. Filed administrative appeals and RLUIPA claims, and negotiated favorable settlement with the City for issuance of permits and approvals.