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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Does RLUIPA Protect Religious Group's Ability to Operate Brewery/Winery?

From our friends at RLUIPA Defense comes an interesting case involving a religious organization's zoning application to expand its existing use to allow a brewery and winery, among other uses. 

RLUIPA Defense recently reported on a lawsuit filed by Fraternite Notre Dame, Inc. against McHenry County challenging the County’s denial of their application to amend a conditional use permit.  In 2005, Notre Dame obtained conditional use approval to develop its 65-acre property in the agricultural zoning district with a monastery, church, seminary, convent, retreat center, bakery, printing press, and cemetery subject to various conditions.  But when it petitioned the County’s Board to amend the conditional use permit to allow further development of its property, including constructing a barn, a commercial kitchen to make wine and brew beer, a school with attached dormitory (80 students), nursing home (50 beds), and a gift shop to sell pastries, religious and inspirational articles, and wine and beer made on-site. The County denied the request for an amendment based on traffic and other concerns, which led to the lawsuit.

RLUIPA Defense notes that the case presents an interesting question as to the scope of what constitutes "religious exercise" under federal law.  Will RLUIPA extend to a brewery/winery?  Stay tuned.

Read the entire blog post here:  Illinois Nuns Sue Over Brewery/Nursing Home Denial

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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