Church’s “as applied” zoning challenge dismissed for lack of ripeness

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

Woodridge Church v. City of Medina, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87687 (D MN, June 25, 2012) is a challenge under RLUIPA, the 1st and 14th Amendments and the Minnesota constitution to Medina, Minnesota’s refusal to approve a church’s expansion plans.  The city’s refusal was followed by a moratorium on church construction and then the creation of a new zoning district that includes the church. The church withdrew its application for a conditional use permit and filed suit when city council implemented a square footage requirement below that of the church’s planned expansion. The court dismissed for lack of ripeness the church’s “as applied” challenges to the city’s zoning decisions since the church has not obtained a final ruling from the city on its plans. However the court permitted the church to proceed with its facial challenges to the city’s zoning decisions and its damage claims growing out of the zoning moratorium.