As local government lawyers, most of us are familiar with RLUIPA and what keeps us up at night is the question: What do institutionalized persons have to do with religious land use? [RLUIPA – Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act].
Well, it may be a while before we get an answer to that particular question, but the question trail doesn’t end there. IMLA joined an certiorari-stage amicus effort in City of San Leandro v. Int’l Church of the Foursquare Gospel. [Read Ninth Circuit decision here] [Read San Leandro’s cert petition brief here]
It’s an interesting case, and if SCOTUS grants cert, it might be the case that clears up some of the ambiguity of RLUIPA. The Questions Presented in the cert petition are:
1. Whether cost and/or inconvenience can be sufficient for a religious landowner to prove that an adverse land use or zoning decision imposes a “substantial burden” under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc(a)(1) (2006).
2. Whether case-by-case analysis of a land use application constitutes an “individualized assessment” under the Free Exercise Clause and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. §2000cc(a)(2)(C) (2006).
3. Whether neutral, generally applicable planning principles may be a “compelling interest” of local governments under the Free Exercise Clause and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C.