Monday, January 02, 2017

New Jersey Mosque Wins Zoning Challenge

In Islamic Society of Basking Ridge v. Township of Bernards, (D NJ, Dec. 31, 2016), a New Jersey federal district court granted partial summary judgment to plaintiffs claiming religious discrimination by a township against an Islamic organization.  The court summarized its 57-page decision as follows:
This case requires the Court to examine a township planning board’s denial of a Muslim congregation’s site plan application to build a mosque.... Plaintiffs challenge the Planning Board’s decision on two bases: (1) Defendants’ disparate application of an off-street parking requirement between Christian churches and Muslim mosques, pursuant to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act...; and (2) the purported unconstitutional vagueness of a parking ordinance... under the Federal and New Jersey Constitutions. After careful consideration, the Court determines that Plaintiffs are entitled to judgment on the pleadings with regard to both issues.
NJ Advance Media reports on the decision.