Sunday, October 30, 2016
Alan C. Weinstein (Cleveland-Marshall) has posted Regulation of Religious Uses Under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
This article examines how the courts have applied the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) in the context of conflicts between religious "uses," such as churches, and local land use regulation. In RLUIPA, Congress has attempted to empower churches when they choose where and how they build a sanctuary or assemble for worship and to restrain local governments when they seek to apply zoning or landmark regulations to those churches. In this environment, local governments face a difficult task in seeking to avoid RLUIPA claims and in evaluating their likelihood of prevailing if challenged. After discussing how the courts have ruled on these conflicts, the article notes how local officials can take steps to lessen the likelihood of a potential claim, including: a comprehensive review of the treatment of religious institutions in its land use codes, both substantively and procedurally; training officials and employees to be sensitive to religious differences; and recognizing that land use applications from, and enforcement of regulations against, religious institutions must be handled with special care.