Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Homeless Shelter's Challenge To Permit Revocation Dismissed As Not Yet Ripe

In New Life Evangelistic Center, Inc. v. City of St. Louis, Missouri, (ED MO, Oct. 27, 2015), a Missouri federal district court dismissed as not ripe a lawsuit by a Christian church seeking to continue to operate its homeless shelter. The city's Board of Public Service voted to revoke the shelter's 32-bed hotel permit when, after receiving a petition from neighbors, it found that the shelter was housing up to 300 individuals per night.  The shelter however was given the option of coming into compliance with its license or obtaining a new appropriate permit.  The church responded by suing for a declaratory judgment and injunction, alleging that its rights under RLUIPA and the 1st and 14th Amendments had been infringed. However the court concluded:
at the time New Life filed this litigation, it had several options before it which made any claimed injury contingent on several possibilities and fairly speculative. Although the grace period in the Board's Order has elapsed, the Court finds that Plaintiff cannot escape the requirements of either appealing the Board's Order or proceeding with the filing of a new application as required by the Board's Order simply by prematurely filing a case in federal court.