RFRA and city development plans
VOLOKH at LAW.UCLA.EDU
Tue Jan 7 13:44:47 PST 1997
The city of Chicago Heights is trying to redevelop a blighted
area. A church wanted to relocate there, but the city refuses to
give a zoning waiver for the particular location it wants. The
church claims RFRA:
Held: 1. No substantial burden. "The impact is not upon the
content of religious practices but only upon where that religion may
be practiced. . . . The Church may purchase property without
restriction in 60 per cent of the community, some of it bordering on
substantial thoroughfares and, apparently, at least some is vacant."
"Additional expense, at least so long as it is not an inflated
expense not imposed upon most landowners, is not a substantial burden
within the meaning of RFRA."
2. In any case, the city has a COMPELLING INTEREST in
"creat[ing] an economic underpinning [by] stiumlat[ing] commercial
activity"; and the zoning restriction is the least restrictive means
of furthering the interest.
-- Eugene Volokh, UCLA Law
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