Monday, August 30, 2010

Suit Charges RLUIPA and FOIA Violations In Church Zoning Dispute

The Power of Praise Worship Center has filed a RLUIPA lawsuit against the village of Dixmoor, Illinois. The suit claims that even though village trustees had approved its use of a building it leased, the village's code enforcement officer ordered it to vacate the building, saying that churches are allowed only in areas zoned residential. The complaint (full text) in Power of Praise Worship Center Church v. Village of Dixmoor, Illinois, (ND IL, filed 8/27/2010), also alleges that the village has prevented the church's attorneys from obtaining a full copy of the village's zoning code. In addition to its RLUIPA claim, the complaint also alleges violations of the Free Exercise Clause and the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. The law firm of Mauck & Baker issued a press release on the case.

UPDATE: WGN News reports that on Aug. 31, a federal judge issued an emergency order allowing the church to reopen while it negotiates a settlement with the city.