Thursday, February 23, 2017

Settlements In Mosque's and DOJ's Suits Against Michigan City

Detroit Free Press reported yesterday that settlements have been reached in two related lawsuits against the city of Sterling Heights, Michigan over the city's denial of Special Approval Land Use application that would have allowed the American Islamic Community Center to construct a mosque on five adjoining lots in the city. One suit was brought by the Islamic Center, while the other was filed by the Department of Justice. (See prior posting.)  The settlement requires the city to allow the mosque to be built, but calls for the height of the mosque's dome and spires to be reduced by approximately two feet. No amplified outdoor sound-- including the Muslim call for prayer-- will be permitted.  Parking will be allowed only in the mosque's parking lot.  The financial arrangements in the Islamic Center's suit are unclear.  The settlement calls for the city to pay a $350,000 deductible to its insurance carrier. A Department of Justice press release yesterday says that the settlement also calls for the city to publicize its nondiscrimination policies, undergo RLUIPA training, and report periodically to the Department of Justice. The settlements must still be approved by the court.