Thursday, March 29, 2018

Church's Challenge To Zoning Denial Is Rejected

In Jesus Christ Is the Answer Ministries, Inc. v. Baltimore County, (D MD, March 27, 2018), a Maryland federal district court dismissed RLUIPA and constitutional challenges by a church to a county's refusal to grant it a zoning variance so it could convert a home it purchased into a house of worship.  The court, in its 35-page opinion, said in part:
Plaintiffs have not plausibly pled a substantial burden claim because the record shows that Reverend Ware did not have a reasonable expectation when she bought the Property that it could be used for the Church.
Plaintiff's discrimination claim focused on the fact that the church's members were African immigrants and on objections to the nature of its ministry.  The court said in part:
Plaintiffs have not alleged facts supporting an inference that the Board acted with intentional or purposeful discrimination.