Sunday, March 04, 2007

Temple Replica Found To Violate Zoning Code

In Matter of Winston v Town of Bedford, Zoning Board of Appeals, (S.Ct., Westchester Co., Feb. 27, 2007), a New York state trial court upheld a decision of a zoning board that found a replica of an 8th century Mayan Temple in a couple's back yard violates Bedford, New York's zoning code. The court rejected a claim that the zoning decision violates the couple's free exercise rights and RLUIPA, finding that the property owners could have built the replica elsewhere on their 13-acre estate and have been in compliance with the zoning code's setback requirements. The court also rejected the owners' claim that the replica was not a "structure" as that term is used in the zoning provisions. Friday's New York Journal News reports on the decision, pointing out that the property owners are an heir to the Harry Winston jewelry fortune and his wife.