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The broad and somewhat vague definition of religious exercise in The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) has invited much litigation over what constitutes a substantial burden and even what constitutes religious exercise.
The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. (RLUIPA), has been a controversial statute, particularly among small municipalities. The federal statute prohibits implementation of a land use regulation “in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious … institution,” unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest 42 U.S.C. 2000cc (a)(1). The broad and somewhat vague definition of religious exercise in the statute has invited much litigation over what constitutes a substantial burden and even what constitutes religious exercise. The statute’s definition “includes any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.” 42 U.S.C 2000cc-5(7)(A).
By Stewart E. Sterk
In Peyton v. New York City Board of Standards and Appeals, the First Department faced a difficult question: when a zoning lot includes more than one building, can open space accessible to residents of one building, but not to residents of the other buildings, count as open space within the meaning of the New York City Zoning Resolution?
Tenant’s Contractor Has Lien Against Landlord’s Interest
Stipulation of Settlement Between Landlord and Tenant Did Not Release Guarantor
Landlord Bound By Rent Mistakenly Set By Temporary Receiver
Lot Owner Lacks Standing to Compel Payment of Assessments
No Foreclosure Jurisdiction Over Deceased Owners
Questions of Fact Preclude Summary Judgment on Claims of Easement By Necessity and Prescription
Zoning Board Bound By Prior Determination
Planning Board Had Rational Basis to Require Church to Record an Easement
Special Permit Denial Overturned
Restrictive Zoning Ordinance Sustained Against Multiple Challenges