Christian school’s zoning challenge dismissed on ripeness grounds

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Tree of Life Christian Schools v. City of Upper Arlington, (SD OH, Aug. 16, 2012), an Ohio federal district court dismissed on ripeness grounds a lawsuit by a private Christian school that unsuccessfully sought a conditional use permit to operate in a commercial office building. The suit asserted RLUIPA as well as 1st and 14th Amendment and state constitutional claims. The school had been advised by the city that rezoning, rather than a conditional use permit application, would be required, but the school never initiated the rezoning process. The court concluded that the city should have the opportunity to conduct the type of in-depth review of the impact of the use of the building that would occur in a rezoning hearing. (See prior related posting.)