Zoning, Planning & Land Use Constitutional Law

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Right of Entry Statutes Are Back in Business – For Now

For decades, California public agencies have utilized a statutory "right of entry" procedure to gain access to private property to conduct investigations and testing before deciding whether to move forward with acquiring the...more

NJ Developer Gets Green Light for Antitrust Suit as Rival Supermarket Owner Seeks to Block Wegmans

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a precedential opinion last week when it ruled that a New Jersey real estate developer had standing to pursue antitrust claims against the owner of a nearby ShopRite who engaged in...more

Third Circuit Provides Clarity to “Inextricably Intertwined” Basis of Antitrust Injury in Partially Reinstating Claims Against...

On November 12, 2015, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion partially reversing the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims in Hanover 3201 Realty, LLC v. Village Supermarkets, Inc., finding that plaintiff Hanover...more

Magistrate Judge Recommends Issuance of Preliminary Injunction to Hope Rising Church

Plaintiff Hope Rising Community Church is one step closer to obtaining a preliminary injunction against Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, as U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert C. Mitchell issued a Report and Recommendation to allow the...more

Update: Nomadic Church and Delanco Township Consent Order

On November 3, we reported that My Father’s House Ministry, Inc. (Church) sued Delanco Township, New Jersey after denial of the Church’s application for a use variance . (See our November 3 post). Based on the parties...more

Caltrans’ Highway 101 Overpass Condemnation Case Ends in Split Decision

For several years, we’ve been following an eminent domain lawsuit in Marin County involving Caltrans’ acquisition of 34 acres for a $29.7 million interchange project at the Redwood Sanitary Landfill, which would widen the...more

Nomadic Church Sues New Jersey Township Over Denial of Use Variance

A predominantly African American Church of about 25 members known as My Father’s House Ministry, Inc. (Church) is suing Delanco Township, New Jersey over allegations that the Township violated both the Religious Land Use &...more

Round Two: DOJ Sues Pittsfield Charter Township

Earlier this year, we reported on the dismissal of Michigan Islamic Academy’s (“MIA”) RLUIPA suit against Pittsfield Charter Township. According to the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, MIA did not have a...more

A Lesson in Judicial Ripeness: Homeless Shelter’s Suit Dismissed

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by New Life Evangelistic Center, Inc. against the City of St. Louis because New Life’s claims are not yet “ripe” for review. In order for a court to have jurisdiction to hear...more

Bike Lanes, Jedi, Medicine Men, Cowboys and More: This Week’s RLUIPA Round-Up

What is Religious Exercise? remains a prevalent question in religious land use news this week.  Below, find our semi-regular summary of news items involving local government, religion, and land use....more

What is Religious Exercise Under RLUIPA?

In last week’s, RLUIPA Round-Up we reported about the case Hale v. Federal Bureau of Prisons (D. CO 2015) in which the court found that the Church of the Creator – a white supremacist movement that advocates “total racial...more

DOJ Steps Up the Pressure Against Des Plaines

More than a year ago, we reported on an important decision for municipal officials by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in American Islamic Center v. City of Des Plaines, No. 13-C-6594...more


Below are news items from the past week involving local government, religion, and land use that may be of interest to our readers. - The New York Times reports that the Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma Capitol...more

Life is Beautiful! Stevie Wonder Concert Not a Burden on Religious Exercise

A federal court in Nevada recently dismissed a church’s claim that a music festival in “Sin City” Las Vegas featuring the likes of Stevie Wonder, Duran Duran, and Twenty One Pilots burdened its religious exercise....more

Supreme Judicial Court Hears Case Involving Access to Sweat Lodges in Prisons

On October 5, 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts heard argument in Trapp v. Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, SJC-11863. At issue is whether RLUIPA (and the Massachusetts Constitution) recognize...more

Tear Down This Wall! Botched Demolition and Apartment Conditions Lead to RLUIPA Dispute

On September 24, Rock Church of Easton (Rock Church) filed an “Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and /or Preliminary Injunction” against the City of Easton, Pennsylvania (the City or Easton) and its Bureau of...more


Below are news items from the past week involving local government, religion, and land use that have caught our attention. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York has issued a Memorandum and...more

U.S. District Court Rejects Challenges to Final Rule Terminating Sea Otter Translocation Program.

On September 18, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California rejected the assertion by the California Sea Urchin Commission, California Abalone Association, and Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara...more

Hope Rising Church Hoping for a Preliminary Injunction

In June 2014, Plaintiff Hope Rising Community Church sought to establish a place of worship in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. According to its complaint, Pastor Harry Hoff met with Penn Hill’s planning and code enforcement...more

Mosque’s RLUIPA Claims Move Forward

Almost a year ago, we reported on The Bensalem Masjid, Inc.’s lawsuit against Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania following the Township’s denial of Masjid’s use variance application to build a 16,900-square foot mosque,...more

Eminent Domain and Condemnation – What’s It All About?

Texan ranch owner Hugh Steerman (fondly known as “Gramps”) just received notice that his family’s fourth-generation, 2,000-acre, Rambling Steer Ranch is a possible pathway for the West Texas Rail from Fort Worth to El Paso....more

No TRO: Here’s Why

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, approximately two weeks after it denied Livingston Christian Schools’ (“LCS” or “School”) request for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”), has issued a written...more

Religious Institutions: September 2015

Respondeat superior (literally, "let the master answer" in Latin) is a doctrine that applies when an employer or principal has the ability and authority to direct and control the pertinent acts of the employee. Put otherwise,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Affirms That Content-Based Sign Codes Violate The First Amendment

Now, more than ever, local municipalities should review their municipal sign laws to ensure that signs are not being regulated based on their message. This is in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that an...more

Arkansas Senate Opens the Door; Baphomet Walks In

The Arkansas Senate, in passing Bill no. 939 (now Act 1231), authorized the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol to purportedly “help the people of the United States and of...more

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