Zoning regulation should never be used as a tool to accommodate the unreasonable fears and prejudice of small-minded individuals desperate to keep a certain population out of their neighborhoods.
Friday, August 26, 2016
Denial of Zoning Variance To Yeshiva Violates RLUIPA
In Yeshiva Gedolah Na'os Yaakov v. Township of Ocean NJ, (D NJ, Aug. 25, 2016), a New Jersey federal district court held that that Ocean, New Jersey's Zoning Board of Adjustment violated RLUIPA when it denied a use variance to allow plaintiffs to operate a Jewish post-high school yeshiva. Making findings about the school's code of conduct for its students, the court ordered the township to grant approval of use of the building for a school of up to 80 students (less than the 96 the school wanted), subject to a detailed list of improvements and changes to the property. Reporting on the decision, Asbury Park Press quoted plaintiffs' attorney who said in a prepared statement: