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Representative Matters

2017 AGUDATH ISRAEL OF AMERICA V. JACKSON TOWNSHIP, N.J. AL MADANY ISLAMIC CENTER OF NORWALK, INC. V. CITY OF NORWALK, CONN. ALBANIAN ASSOCIATED FUND V. TOWNSHIP OF WAYNE, N.J. AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE V. PRISON FELLOWSHIP MINISTRIES BAIS BRUCHA V. TOWNSHIP OF TOMS RIVER BENSALEM MASJID V. BENSALEM TOWNSHIP, PA BERKOWITZ V. EAST RAMAPO CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, N.Y. BETHEL WORLD OUTREACH MINISTRIES V. MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD. BIKUR CHOLIM, INC. V. VILLAGE OF SUFFERN, N.Y. BUDDHIST EDUCATION CENTER OF AMERICA, INC., V. CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. CHABAD JEWISH CENTER OF TOMS RIVER V. TOWNSHIP OF TOMS RIVER, N.J. CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY CHAPEL WESLEYAN CHURCH V. TOWNSHIP OF HILLSBOROUGH CONAWAY V. DEANE CONGREGATION ARIEL RUSSIAN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE V. BALTIMORE COUNTY, MD. CONGREGATION HEICHEL DOVID CONGREGATION KOLLEL, INC. V. TOWNSHIP OF HOWELL, N.J. CONGREGATION MISCHKNOIS LAVIER YAKOV V. BOARD OF TRUSTEES FOR THE VILLAGE OF AIRMONT, N.Y. CONGREGATION RABBINICAL COLLEGE OF TARTIKOV V. VILLAGE OF POMONA, N.Y. COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH ARCHDIOCESE OF NORTH AMERICA V. ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT OF TOWNSHIP OF CEDAR GROVE, N.J. DAYALBAGH RADHASOAMI SATSANG ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA V. TOWNSHIP OF OLD BRIDGE, N.J. EAGLE COVE CAMP & CONFERENCE CENTER V. TOWN OF WOODBORO, WISC. FAITH TEMPLE CHURCH V. TOWN OF BRIGHTON, N.Y. FIRST PENTECOSTAL UNITED HOLY CHURCH V. CITY OF CHESAPEAKE, VIRGINIA FISHERMEN OF MEN CHURCH, APPLICATION OF, D.C. GREAT LAKES SOCIETY V. GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, MICH. GREENWICH REFORM SYNAGOGUE V. TOWN OF GREENWICH, CONN. GURU GOBIND SINGH SIKH CENTER V. TOWN OF OYSTER BAY, N.Y. HARBOR MISSIONARY CHURCH V. CITY OF SAN BUENAVENTURA, CAL. HINDU TEMPLE AND CULTURAL SOCIETY OF USA V. BRIDGEWATER TOWNSHIP, N.J. HUNT VALLEY BAPTIST CHURCH V. BALTIMORE COUNTY, MD. HUNT VALLEY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH V. BALTIMORE COUNTY JESUS CHRIST IS THE ANSWER MINISTRIES V. BALTIMORE COUNTY KELLEY, THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, AND THE GOVERNING BODY COMMISSION V. GARUDA MOXLEY V. TOWN OF WALKERSVILLE, MD. NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR AMISH RELIGIOUS FREEDOM NAVAJO NATION V. UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE NEW BEGINNINGS CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP V. TOWNSHIP OF BRICK PARAMESWARAN V. MYSOREKAR RIVERDALE BAPTIST CHURCH V. ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD. ROCKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTIAN CHURCH V. BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF BOULDER COUNTY SAHANSRA V. WESTCHESTER COUNTY HEALTH CARE CORPORATION SPIRIT OF ALOHA TEMPLE V. COUNTY OF MAUI ST. JOHN UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST V. INDIANAPOLIS HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION, IND. ST. JOHN´S UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST V. CITY OF CHICAGO THAI MEDITATION ASSOCIATION OF ALABAMA V. CITY OF MOBILE PLANNING COMMISSION THIRD CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST V. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HISTORIC PRESERVATION REVIEW BOARD TROTMAN V. BEN GILMAN SPRING VALLEY MEDICAL AND DENTAL CLINIC VALLEY CHABAD V. BOROUGH OF WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. YESHIVA GEDOLA NA'OS YAAKOV V. OCEAN TWP., N.J.

Congregation ARIEL Russian Community Synagogue v. Baltimore County, Md.

04/14/2017: Russian community synagogue files RLUIPA suit against Baltimore County for denial under "Byzantine" zoning regulations

The zoning of the property allows a house of worship as a permitted use by right. There is a single family home already located on the site, which ARIEL seeks to maintain as a home for its Rabbi.  The Complaint notes that the Board of Appeals rejected its use for the Rabbi, although it would otherwise permitted to be used as a home. The Complaint describes the size of the proposed synagogue, which would have the same square footage as the house next door. Nonetheless, the Board of Appeals found that the synagogue was somehow incompatible with the surrounding area.  The Complaint states that there was no reasonable justification for the Board’s denial, which was based on portions of the Baltimore County Zoning Ordinance that are so convoluted that a Board of Appeals member described them as “Byzantine” during public deliberations. The denial came after a year of hearings in front of the Board of Appeals, which followed lengthy proceedings before an administrative law judge. “Baltimore County’s system of zoning houses of worship is broken,” stated Roman P. Storzer, attorney for the congregation. “We’re dealing with constitutionally protected rights that should not depend on whether a use that’s permitted by right is opposed by hostile neighbors or the arbitrary and subjective whim of government officials.” Religious land uses are protected from undue burdens, discrimination and arbitrary treatment under RLUIPA, which was passed by Congress seventeen years ago to prevent such treatment against religious institutions in land use regulation.

Release, "ARIEL Russian Community Synagogue Files Federal Lawsuit Against Baltimore County and Board of Appeals," Baltimore Jewish Life (Apr. 14, 2017)

Both are represented by a Washington law firm that has represented churches, synagogues and mosques in land-use disputes across the country.  Attorney Roman P. Storzer said county zoning regulations for houses of worship are "broken," and that the projects were rejected on "very subjective and, we believe, arbitrary grounds."

A. Knezevich, "Baltimore County faces federal lawsuits alleging religious discrimination in zoning cases," Baltimore Sun (Apr. 12, 2017)

A. Burnett, "Religious Litigation Arises in Baltimore County," WJZ (Apr. 13, 2017)

D. Weiner, "Church, synagogue suing Baltimore County over religious discrimination," WBAL TV11 (Apr. 14, 2017)