Friday, May 01, 2015

6th Circuit Hears Oral Arguments In RLUIPA Zoning Case

On Wednesday, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments (audio of full arguments) in Tree of Life Christian Schools v City of Upper Arlington, (Docket No. 14-3469, argued 4/29/2015). In the case, an Ohio federal district court dismissed a Christian school's RLUIPA and constitutional challenge to Upper Arlington's refusal to issue a conditional use permit or to rezone for use as a school an existing office building. (See prior posting.)  Upper Arlington News, reporting on the oral arguments, quoted the reaction to the arguments from Erik Stanley who argued the case for Tree of Life:
A few of the judges seemed to key in on the idea the city argued all along that the city needs this property for revenue, but the judges seemed alarmed that some of the uses the city has allowed in the ORD don’t generate a lot of revenue. The city cannot have this zoning district that claims only to allow revenue-generating uses when they’ve allowed uses that don’t generate revenue to the extent Tree of Life would, such as day care centers, charitable hospitals and nonprofit offices.