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6th Circuit Remands RLUIPA “Equal Terms” Zoning Challenge

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In Tree of Life Christian Schools v. City of Upper Arlington, (6th Cir., May 18, 2016), the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision reversed and remanded in a RLUIPA land use case, finding that material facts remain as to the application of RLUIPA’s “equal terms” provision.  At issue is an Ohio city’s refusal to rezone a large office building for use as a religious school. The office building is in an area zoned as an “Office and Research District” — an area designed for uses that would maximize the city’s tax revenues. The majority said in part:

The religious land use that TOL Christian Schools proposes is, we assume without deciding, deleterious to the purpose of the regulation at issue (which we assume to be increasing income-tax revenue). But the nonreligious uses that the government concedes it would allow seem to be similarly situated to the regulation….. [T]he government suggested at oral argument that it would prefer that [the property] be used for an ambulatory care center or outpatient surgery center. But we cannot assume as a fact… that an ambulatory care center (or an outpatient surgery center, or a data and call center, or office space for a not-for-profit organization, or a daycare) would employ higher-income workers than TOL Christian Schools would….

You can learn more about this issue here.

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