Thursday, August 20, 2020

Oregon State Law Overrides County Limit On Zoning For Mosque

 In Tarr v. Multnomah County, (OR App., Aug. 19, 2020), an Oregon state appellate court held that a state statute governing zoning for houses of worship prevents a county from applying a "compatibility standard" that appears in the county zoning code.  In a suit by individuals living next door to property on which it is proposed to build a mosque, the court concluded that the county code's requirement that a community service use be "consistent  with  the  character  of  the  area" cannot be invoked to prevent construction of the mosque.  The court said in part:

the  plain  terms  of  ORS  215.441(1)  and  (2),  in context, leave no room for the application of the county’s compatibility  standard—or  standards  like  it—to  proposed  religious  land  uses  where,  as  here,  a  place  of  worship  is  allowed  on  a  particular  piece  of  real  property  under  state  law  and  county  zoning  laws.