Wednesday, December 17, 2014

DOJ Announces Settlement of RLUIPA Zoning Suit On Behalf of Minnesota Mosque

The Minnesota United States Attorney's Office announced yesterday that a settlement agreement in principle has been reached in its RLUIPA lawsuit against the City of St. Anthony Village (MN).  The suit challenges the city's refusal to issue a conditional use permit to the Abu Huraira Islamic Center-- with its largely Somali Muslim membership-- that sought to purchase an existing business center in an area zoned "light industrial," use the basement for worship space and continue to rent the remainder of the building to existing business tenants. (See prior posting.)  The agreement, which must still be approved by the St. Anthony City Council, the Justice Department and the federal district court, calls for the city to create a Planned Use Development that will allow the Islamic Center to use the basement space for worship. The city will also undertake various other initiatives to prevent future religious discrimination.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports in more detail on the settlement terms.