Zoning, Planning & Land Use Constitutional Law

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Drug Disposal Ordinance: Supreme Court Writ Filed

On December 29, 2014, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (“PhRMA”), the Biotechnology Industry Organization (“BIO”), and the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (“GPhA”) jointly filed a Petition for a...more

Holt v. Hobbs Aftermath: Supreme Court Remands Native American Prisoners’ RLUIPA Claims

Less than a week after its decision in Holt v. Hobbs, the Supreme Court in Knight v. Thompson, No. 13-955 (2015), vacated and remanded the Eleventh Circuit’s rejection of Native American prisoners’ claims challenging prison...more

2015 Texas Legislative Session Includes Twin Bills Concerning Municipal Fracking Bans

With the opening of the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature on January 13, 2015, two of the more closely watched bills in the energy arena will be House Bill 539 (HB539) and House Bill 540 (HB540). HB539, filed on December...more

Fresh Bill In Newly-Convened N.C. State Legislature Aims At Condemnation Powers

Portending what is likely to be a significant legislative session for local government powers and real property rights in North Carolina, the first "substantial" bill introduced in the 2015-2016 session of the North Carolina...more

The High Court Hears Argument: Is Gilbert’s Sign Ordinance Content-Neutral? What Standard of Review Should Apply?

Last summer, we reported that the U.S. Supreme Court granted Good News Community Church’s (Church) petition for a writ of certiorari to review the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Reed v. Town of...more

Prairie Dogs vs. Congress

A recent ruling by a Utah federal judge, although directed at the Endangered Species Act (ESA), may have far-reaching implications on Congress' commerce clause powers. In a first-of-its-kind ruling, U.S. District Judge Dee...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Retroactive Application of Landfill Cleanup Statute

In 2004, the Illinois legislature amended the Illinois Environmental Protection Act to authorize mandatory injunctions to require cleanups of landfills. But could the courts use the statute to order cleanups of older...more

Unanimous Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rules that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of Environmental Rights Amendment in...

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled on January 7, 2015 that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Environmental Rights Amendment in Robinson Township, which was backed by only three justices, is nonbinding. The...more

Kennesaw, Georgia Back in the News: Suffa Dawat Center Files “Preventative” Lawsuit

In December, we reported that Kennesaw, Georgia’s City Council reversed its initial decision to deny an Islamic place of worship and education center in a retail shopping plaza.  Despite the approval, the applicant, Suffa...more

Public Works Board Moving Forward with Condemnations as High Speed Rail Project Breaks Ground

As the High Speed Rail Authority (“Authority”) prepares to begin construction this week of the first segment of the High Speed Rail Project (the “Project”), the State Public Works Board is concurrently scrambling to consider...more

Keystone Pipeline May Be First Clash between President and New Congress

So the new Congress has been sworn in back in Washington, and the nation gears up for the first big clash between the Republican-controlled Congress and President Obama.  What will the first major battle be:  health care;...more

“Integral Yoga” Group and Swami Hope to Find Their Inner Balance in Federal Court; Lawsuit Alleges Religious Discrimination by...

The Spirit of Aloha Temple (“Spirit”) and Fredrick R. Honig a/k/a Swami Swaroopananda are suing the County of Maui and the Maui Planning Commission (“Commission”) over the Commission’s denial of their proposal to use an...more

Glee Camp Not So Happy: Auburn’s Zoning Enforcement Action Alleged to Violate RLUIPA’s Equal Terms Provision

The First Presbyterian Church of Auburn (the “Church”) has hosted a musical theater day camp (“Glee Camp”) in Auburn, New York for approximately three years. In July of 2014, Auburn’s code enforcement officer issued a...more

Federal Court Invalidates San Francisco Tenant Relocation Requirements

The Northern District of California has struck down part of San Francisco’s rent control ordinance as an unconstitutional taking under the Fifth Amendment in Levin v. City and County of San Francisco, Dist. Court, ND...more

Zombies Outshine Satan? More Controversial Holiday Displays, Including Baby, Fanged, Undead Jesus and Dogs in Costumes. Happy...

Last week we reported on several controversies regarding public displays of traditional and not-so-traditional religious iconography.  Well, it seems that the issue isn’t dead yet. Since our last holiday post, several new...more

Fed. Dist. Court in FL Dismisses RLUIPA Equal Terms Claim Following Notice of Violation

A pro se plaintiff filed a claim against a city code enforcement department and its officers alleging various constitutional violations as well as a violation of RLUIPA for code enforcement activity. Plaintiff owned real...more

Evangelical Church Sues Colonie, New York, Alleges Religious Discrimination, Over Delays in Land Use Approval Process

An evangelical church, Life Covenant Church a/k/a LifeChurch.tv (“LifeChurch”), is suing Colonie, New York (“Town”), the Town’s Planning Board, certain of its members, and the Town’s attorneys over allegations that the Town’s...more

Court of Appeal Upholds Anti-SLAPP Motion to Defeat Claims Against Government Agencies

Ruling Allows Government Agencies to Use the Motion to Quickly End Meritless and Vexatious Lawsuits - A government agency can employ an anti-SLAPP motion to win early termination of meritless and vexatious lawsuits...more

California Supreme Court Grants Review of Coastal Act Decision with Takings Implications

In September 2014, the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District issued a surprising decision, finding that even if an applicant maintains that it is accepting imposed permit conditions “under protest” and expressly...more

‘Tis The Season For Nativity Scenes & Satanic Displays: Happy Holidays from RLUIPA Defense

Ah the holiday season—a time for family, friends and overeating. While most individuals grapple with balancing a love for holiday treats and some modicum of self-control, the Nation is faced with a perennial balancing act:...more

California Supreme Court to Review Denial of Homeowner’s Private Beach Access

In the case of Lynch v. California Coastal Commission (D064120; Cal.App.4th 658; San Diego Superior Court; 37-2011-00058666-CU-WM-NC), the California Supreme Court has granted a petition for review of the decision by the...more

St. Anthony, Minnesota to Pay $200,000 to Settle RLUIPA Suit Brought by Department of Justice

Earlier this year, we reported on the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) against the City of St. Anthony Village, Minnesota (“City”) over the City’s denial of Abu Haraira Islamic Center’s (“Center”)...more

Utah Prairie Dog Could Narrow Endangered Species Act

A Utah federal court has created the potential for a constitutional showdown that could result in a significant narrowing of the Endangered Species Act and further limiting Congress’ power to legislate. In an unprecedented...more

Kennesaw Reverses Course and Approves Mosque

Earlier this month, we reported that Kennesaw, Georgia’s City Council voted 4 to 1 to deny a land use application by Suffa Dawat Center (the “Center”) to establish an Islamic place of worship and education center in a retail...more

Mosque Sues Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania Over Denial

The Bensalem Masjid Inc. (“Masjid”) has sued Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania (“Township”) and the Township’s Zoning Hearing Board (“Board”) for denying approval to construct a mosque. Nine months after the application was...more

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