The term “substantial burden” is not defined in the RLUIPA. The Sixth Circuit in Living Water Church of God v. Charter Twp. of Meridian articulated a standard which requires LCS to show that, “ . . . the government action place[s] substantial pressure on [it] to violate its religious beliefs or effectively bar[s] [it] from using its property in the exercise of its religion[.]” ... While it may be less convenient or more expensive for LCS to operate its school from a different location, the circumstances present here do not constitute a substantial burden.... Because LCS has not “proffered evidence showing that it cannot carry out its church missions and ministries due to the Township’s denial,” it has not established a substantial burden on its free exercise of religion.The court also rejected the school's 1st and 14th Amendment challenges.
Friday, July 01, 2016
Denial of Use Permit Did Not Impose "Substantial Burden" Under RLUIPA
In Livingston Christian Schools v. Genoa Charter Township, (ED MI, June 30, 2016), a Michigan federal district court held that a township's denial of a special use permit did not impose a substantial burden on the religious exercise rights of a Christian school. The school sought to move to a building currently owned by a church and recently leased to the school. The court said in part: