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Buddhists lose bid to build temple in Conn.

By The Associated Press
01.31.08

HARTFORD, Conn. — The state Supreme Court has unanimously rejected a Buddhist society's efforts to build a temple in Newtown.

The Cambodian Buddhist Society of Connecticut argued last year that Newtown was violating state and federal laws that protect religious freedom — including RLUIPA (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000) — when it denied a permit for the temple.

The court rejected those claims in Cambodian Buddhist Society v. Planning and Zoning Commission.

Supporters had said the Cambodian Buddhist temple, which would have been the first in the state, was important to preserving their religion and culture because elders are dying off. Many of those trying to build the temple fled the killing fields of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge 30 years ago.

But Newtown officials and neighbors of the 10-acre site where the temple would have been built said it could attract up to 450 people on days when religious festivals are held. The Planning and Zoning Commission declared that level of activity "too intense."


Related

9th Circuit: Calif. county must allow Sikh temple

Panel upholds lower court decision that officials violated RLUIPA by denying congregation's request to build temple on land zoned for agriculture. 08.05.06

N.Y. village can't block Jewish school's expansion, 2nd Circuit says
Three-judge panel upholds lower court decision that Mamaroneck violated RLUIPA by denying Westchester Day School permit to expand its facilities. 10.18.07

Ark. high court: Judge didn't overstep by organizing temple election
Unanimous ruling finds lower court didn't 'delve into matters that were essentially religious in nature' when it decided which members of Buddhist temple could vote on temple leadership. 03.07.08

Ariz. church sues city after zoning permit denied
Lawsuit: Yuma is discriminating by enforcing zoning code that allows membership groups, theaters to locate in historic district while excluding religious groups. 06.09.08

Accommodating religion: Special favors or religious freedom?
By Charles C. Haynes What may sound like unfair breaks for religious groups in areas from taxes to zoning may actually be protecting free exercise of religion. 10.15.06

RLUIPA, religious buildings & zoning

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