RLUIPA claim for delay in granting zoning variance can move ahead

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ v. City of Hackensack, (D NJ, Aug. 9, 2012), a New Jersey federal district court held that plaintiff church has made out a prima facie case under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.  The church alleged that the city of Hackensack delayed for 4 years its eventual approval of the church’s application for a variance that the church sought so it could use a building it rented as a school to train priests. (See prior related posting.) The court also refused to dismiss claims for monetary damages under RLUIPA against two city officials in their personal and official capacities, as well as 1st Amendment claims against the two officials.