Friday, February 08, 2013

Court Upholds Town's Zoning Denial For Bible Camp

In Eagle Cove Camp & Conference Center, Inc. v. Town of Woodboro, (WD WI, Feb. 1, 2013), a Wisconsin federal district court upheld a town's denial of a rezoning request and an application for a conditional use permit to construct a year-round Bible camp facility which, among other things, would minister to children with serious disabling medical conditions. Summarizing its holding, the court said:
The court has no reason to doubt plaintiffs, and particularly the Jaros brothers', sincere belief that they have been called to build a Bible camp on the land in issue -- and is aware of the years, talents and money spent, as well as dedication shown, in pursuit of that belief. Patently obvious is this court‟s inability to discern whether plaintiffs‟ utter lack of success to date is God's way of telling them -- through admittedly-imperfect, secular institutions -- to look elsewhere for a more acceptable location. Ultimately, only God knows if they should continue to knock at this particular door or look for an open window somewhere else. What appears substantially more certain, at least to this court, is that plaintiffs have no right to relief under RLUIPA, the United States Constitution or the Wisconsin Constitution. Indeed ... the undisputed facts demonstrate that plaintiffs do not meet their burden of establishing all the elements of proof under any of their claims.
Plaintiffs have filed a Notice of Appeal to the 7th Circuit. (See prior related posting.) [Thanks to Arthur G. Jaros for the lead]