Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Dallas Sues Synagogue For Failing To Obtain Certificate of Occupancy

Last month, a Homeowners Association lost its attempt to enforce deed restrictions barring use of a north Dallas, Texas home by Congregation Toras Chaim, a group of 30 Orthodox Jewish families, for daily prayer services. (See prior posting.)  This week, however, the city of Dallas filed suit against the congregation claiming that it needs to obtain a certificate of occupancy to use the home for non-residential purposes. The complaint (full text) in City of Dallas v. Gothelf, (TX Dist. Ct., filed 3/2/2015), says that the congregation filed an incomplete application for a certificate last year.  It needs to comply with handicap accessibility, fire safety and parking regulations. The synagogue claims it is shielded from compliance by RLUIPA and the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  According to the Dallas Morning News, the synagogue says there is no way it can afford to make the changes the city has demanded.