Rabbinical college can proceed with facial challenge to land use ordinances

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In a 102-page opinion, a New York federal district court in Congregation Rabbinical College of Tartikov, Inc. v. Village of Pomona, (SD NY, Jan. 4, 2013), dismissed on ripeness grounds a number of “as applied” challenges to the land use ordinances of the Village of Pomona, New York. However the court permitted plaintiffs to proceed with facial challenges to the ordinances under the 1st and 14th Amendments, RLUIPA, the Fair Housing Act and the New York constitution. Plaintiffs alleged that the village adopted the land use ordinances with the deliberate purpose of preventing it from constructing a planned rabbinical college. Plaintiffs never filed a formal application for permission to build the college.  They were merely rebuffed by the village’s attorney and in an informal exchange of letters the mayor said the village would not exempt the project from the village’s zoning laws.