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Monday, April 28, 2014

RLUIPA Defense Blog: Synagogue Faces Neighbor Opposition

Hat tip to our friends at the RLUIPA Defense blog in reporting on a situation involving neighbor opposition to a proposed synagogue.  You can read the entire story here:  Village of Northbrook, Illinois Facing Familiar Threat of RLUIPA

According to RLUIPA Defense, a modern Orthodox Jewish congregation applied for a building permit to allow the construction of an 8,300 square foot synagogue and parking lot on a 1.5 acre lot zoned in the R-2 residential district.  In Northbrook, religious uses are allowed by-right in the R-2 district.  Consequently, no zoning approvals are required and the religious organization only needs a building permit to construct and operate the synagogue on the property.  Neighbors attended a recent Village Board meeting to express their concerns about the proposed use, including the potential for increased traffic, drainage problems, and light pollution. They have asked the Village to address their concerns, including requiring a buffer to neighboring residential properties. In response, some trustees responded that a public hearing should be held to consider proposals involving significant changes in use even though the proposed use is allowed by-right in the residential district. 

The authors of the RLUIPA Defense blog note that if the Village were to stray from their process, the religious institution might be able to make an RLUIPA equal-terms claim that prohibits local governments from treating secular and religious institutions differently through its land use regulations. That provision of RLUIPA requires municipalities to subject religious institutions to the same process and under the same standards as those submitted by secular institutions.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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