Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Christian Camp Says Nearby Dairy Farm Approval Violates RLUIPA

A lawsuit was filed last month in an Indiana state trial court by a Christian youth camp which objects to a zoning board's approval of a large dairy farm nearby. The complaint (full text) in House of Prayer Ministries, Inc. v. Rush County Board of Zoning Appeals, (filed 5/16/2016), alleges that the 1400 cows and three large waste lagoons on the farm will expose campers to noxious odors and harmful air emissions that will "interfere with Harvest Christian Camp's thirty-year mission and ability to provide a safe, healthy, and Christian rural setting for thousands of children and teens to be educated, enriched spiritually, and enhanced by the outdoors...."  This, the complaint alleges, amounts to a substantial burden that violates the camp's rights under RLUIPA, the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First and 14th Amendments and the state constitution's equal privileges and immunities clause. RLUIPA Defense blog reports on the case.