United States District Court, S.D. California. No. 09cv962-WQH-AJB.
April 1, 2010
The court rejected summary judgment and injunctive relief motions by a religious school (OLP) that alleged the City’s refusal to issue permits for “modernization” of the school was a violation by the City of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, et seq. The City’s denial of permits was based in part on the school’s plan to demolish two historic houses. The parties agreed that RLUIPA applies. The court found that OLP demonstrated as a matter of law that the proposed construction of a classroom building fits within RLUIPA’s definition of “religious exercise”. But “in light OLP’s successful operation of the school for many years at or near its current and projected enrollment” and the fact allowing the historic buildings to stand would not require any decrease in enrollment, the court concluded that OLP failed to show that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law as to whether the City imposed a “substantial burden” on OLP’s religious exercise.