Wednesday, November 8, 2006

7th Circuit Rejects Religious Land Use Claim

Over at the Religion Clause blog, Howard Friedman reports:" Yesterday in Vision Church, United Methodist v. Village of Long Grove, (7th Cir., Nov. 7, 2006), the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Free Expression, Free Exercise and RLUIPA challenges to a requirement that churches need to obtain special use permits to locate in Long Grove, Illinois." Prof. Friedman continues: "It held that the involuntary annexation of Vision Church's land was not a land use regulation covered by RLUIPA, and that size restrictions imposed on the church did not substantially burden its exercise of religion. It rejected constitutional and statutory claims of unequal treatment and Vision Church's claim that it had a vested right to build under pre-existing zoning rules."

Update: Here is another religious land use case posted today at Religion Clause:

In Men of Destiny Ministries, Inc. v. Osceola County, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80908 (MD FL, Nov. 6, 2006), a Florida federal district court rejected claims brought under both RLUIPA and the Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act by a Christian residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program that was denied a conditional use permit to operate in an area near St. Cloud (FL) zoned for residential use. The court found that the county's refusal did not impose a substantial burden on the organization's exercise of its religion since it is free to run its program in other areas of the County that are zoned appropriately or to operate through out-patient counseling rather than with an in-patient facility.

Rick Duncan

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