Thursday, September 04, 2014

Settlement Reached In Synagogue's Suit Challenging Historic Site Designiation

The AP reports that a Florida, federal district court last week approved a settlement agreement in Temple B'nai Zion, Inc. v. City of Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, a case on remand from the 11th Circuit (see prior posting). In the case the synagogue claims that its designation as an historic site-- thereby preventing demolition and construction of a new building on the site-- violated its relgious freedom rights. The Temple was declared a landmark because of a 2004 meeting of Holocaust survivors there. Three of the city commission members involved in the decision were former members of the synagogue before it moved from embracing Conservative Judaism to becoming an Orthodox synagogue. The hearing on the synagogue's objections to the designation was filled with comments from individuals unhappy about actions of the synagogue's rabbi. Under the settlement, the historic landmark designation remains, but the Temple will be permitted to make certain structural changes. The city will also give the Temple a transferable development right elsewhere in the city.