Minnesota group settles federal suit over land use concerns
Litigation between a Minnesota city and a religious group has settled after a battle in federal court. According to reports, the real estate litigation between the city of St. Anthony and an Islamic worship center has ended after a two year battle. In the fight, the Islamic center was fighting for permission to build a worship center in a building it owns in St. Anthony. The request to build the worship center had initially been denied by the city over zoning concerns. The building is in a light industrial zone.
The federal government got involved in the case after the group was initially denied the right to build a worship center. The Justice Department has pursued cases of religious discrimination since 2010 — filing 13 lawsuits. At that time, a law on religious land use was passed which seeks to end discrimination against religious buildings.
In the settlement between St. Anthony and the Islamic worship center, the group will be allowed to use the building’s atrium and 12,940 square foot basement for worship purposes. The other portion of the building — around 90 percent — will be leased to light industrial businesses. The city does not admit to liability in the settlement, but will pay the center’s legal fees.
Land use disputes are just one of the many types of real estate litigation that Minnesota property owners may face. When facing a dispute, it is important for property owners to understand all their legal rights — including the right to negotiate a settlement. In many cases, property owners can negotiate with other businesses, neighbors or the government to develop a favorable solution to the issue.
Source: Star Tribune, “Under pressure from feds, city of St. Anthony agrees to Islamic center,” Randy Furst, Dec. 16, 2014
Image Source: Washington Times