Sunday, February 13, 2011
Ind. Gov't, - "La Porte Ordinance would require special permits for churches"
Matt Fritz's story in the Feb. 11, 2011 LaPorte Herald Argus reports:
LA PORTE — Churches may not be able to locate wherever they want in the city of La Porte after officials adopt a joint ordinance with the county and Michigan City.ILB: Of interest here may be the 7th Circuit rulings on the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (“RLUIPA”), including this decision from July 2, 2010.
This is because the ordinance requires special permits for churches or places of worship in residential areas. * * *
A fifth [and defeated] provision dealing with the allowance of religious structures in any districts of the city was voted on separately. A majority of members voted for the allowance, but it didn’t have the required four votes to pass. Members Goot Logwood and Mitch Bishop cast the dissenting votes.
Commission Attorney David McCain recommended the provision because he didn’t think the special permit requirement would hold muster with established state law. He said the state Supreme Court has ruled in the past to allow churches in any district in Indiana, whether commercial or residential. The new ordinance would have stopped this. * * *
McCain said the new design standards for the city’s downtown and NewPorte Landing area were “too vague and unenforceable,” and the new flood plain ordinance might bar residents from getting flood insurance because it wasn’t yet approved by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Commission members agreed to pass these changes.