Religious Groups: Exempt From Zoning

Is RLUIPA, which bars government from enforcing zoning codes on religious organizations, being opened to widespread abuse?

"...A group of Hassidic Orthodox Jews has torn down a 70-year-old house to build a synagogue in the heart of [Hancock Park, a pricey neighborhood in Los Angeles. They are] backed by a federal law that enables religious groups to bypass zoning codes. Disgruntled residents have united in an attempt to stop construction... The 2000 law, known as the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, bars governments from enforcing zoning codes that impose "a substantial burden" on religious assembly... Religious groups from Wyoming to Connecticut are invoking the law to build everything from soup kitchens to day care centers, often in residential areas. In Austin, Texas, a Baptist church sued the municipality for violating RLUIPA after it rejected the church's plan to build a five-story parking lot on a residential street." [Editor's note: Access to the full text of this article requires a paid subscription to the Wall Street Journal.]

Thanks to Practice of New Urbanism

Full Story: Should Religious Groups Be Exempt From Zoning?

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