Religious Land Use and Zoning Leaders

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Religious Land Use and Zoning Blogs

Churches and other religious institutions are protected from discrimination by municipalities and other local government bodies by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, better known as RLUIPA. This blog by the national leaders in religious land use and zoning law highlights RLUIPA case studies and includes commentary on related news for church leaders and others throughout the country, as well as explanations of components of the RLUIPA law.

Litigating Religious Land Use Claims: immunity for individual members of a City Council and Illinois State Tort & RFRA claims

  American Islamic Center (“AIC” or “Plaintiff”) provides religious and educational services to the Muslim community of the Chicago metropolitan area. In March 2011, AIC began to search for a permanent facility in which to conduct its activities. On February 6, 3012, AIC contracted to […]

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converting home to church

Converting a residential home to Church: Do you still need to comply with zoning ordinances?

Faith Walk Fellowship Church (“Faith Walk”) owns a single-family residence in a single-family residential district of Cleveland, Ohio (“the City”). As churches are permitted uses in single-family residential districts, Faith Walk sought a variance to use the residence as a church, and to install a […]

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Denominational Trust Clauses: Indiana’s Adoption of Trust Clause Interpretation

  The Church of the Brethren, South/Central Indiana District (“the Denomination”) is composed of forty-five Church of Brethren congregations located across Indiana, and dates back to 1708. The Roann Church of Brethren, Inc. and the Roann Church, Inc. (“the Congregation”) traces its origins to mission […]

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Licensing requirements and Ripeness: Davis v. City of Selma, California

Stephanie Davis (“Plaintiff”) is a spiritual counselor providing counseling in the County of Fresno, but sought to provide spiritual counseling within the incorporated City of Selma, California (“Defendant” or “City”). Plaintiffs spiritual and counseling activities are founded on and motivated by her fundamental religious beliefs, […]

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State Environmental Laws and RLUIPA

When does state environmental laws impact RLUIPA?  We previously blogged on Fortress Bible Church v. Feiner, a  case where the local community improperly used the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) to block a religious institution from building in the local community.  A […]

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Building Codes, Fire Codes and RLUIPA – Affordable Recovery Housing v. The City of Blue Island

SCENARIO: Affordable Recovery Housing (“ARH” or “Plaintiff”) is a non-profit, faith-based organization located in the City of Blue Island, Illinois (“Blue Island” or “Defendant”), on a property referred to as the “Mother of Sorrows property” (“the Property”). Since the mid-1950’s, the Mantellate Sisters of Mary […]

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Homeless Ministries and RLUIPA

Harbor Missionary Church (“the Church”), located in the City of San Buenaventura, California (“Ventura” or “the City”), provides daily chapel services, bible studies, and prayer to the community of Ventura. Specifically, the Church has devoted itself to serving the needs of Ventura’s homeless population, believing […]

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Equal Terms, RLUIPA and the 7th Circuit Test: a cautionary tail of litigating religious land use claims

Truth Foundation Ministries (“TFM”) is a small church – typically hosting between 40 and 60 parishioners – that conducts Sunday worship services in Romeoville, Illinois. TFM previously held its services at a local high school, but when school district closures prevented the church from operating, […]

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A RLUIPA & Substantive Due Process Win: Summit Church v. Randolph County, West Virginia

RLUIPA Religious Land Use Case: Summit Church – Elkins, West Virginia SCENARIO: Summit Church (“the Church”) of Elkins, West Virginia, sued the Randolph County Development Authority (“RCDA”) alleging that the RCDA’s imposed ban of churches on the former CSX railyard constituted a violation of the […]

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Five Lessons Learned at the Department of Justice RLUIPA Roundtable

On May 2, 2016 Kate Brink and I had the honor to be invited to speak at the RLUIPA Roundtable hosted by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice. We were grateful for the opportunity to speak with other RLUIPA practitioners and […]

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About Us


Dalton & Tomich, PLC is the national leader in successfully helping churches, other religious institutions and their insurers defend their rights in land use and zoning matters under RLUIPA, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. We have helped clients win cases against municipalities and other local government bodies from coast to coast, with experience serving both as general counsel and special litigation counsel.