City to Hold Press Conference Regarding JDBY vs. City of Evanston Lawsuit
The City of Evanston will be holding a press conference on May 6 to discuss the city prevailing in the Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov (JDBY) vs. City of Evanston matter in which the city denied a zoning application seeking to allow an industrial property to be used as a school.
Alderman Ann Rainey (8th Ward), City Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar and attorney Bill McKenna will be speaking at the press conference, which will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, May 6, 2013, in Council Chambers, Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.
On April 30, the City of Evanston obtained a victory at trial when a Cook County judge found in Evanston's favor on all claims brought against the city by the Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov religious school. The case involved Evanston's denial of a zoning application seeking to allow an industrial property to be used as a school. In addition to seeking an injunction ordering the industrial property to be used as a school, the school also sought millions of dollars of damages under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) based on alleged religious discrimination.
In a thorough, 46-page opinion, the judge found that the city was well within its rights in denying the school's zoning application, due to, among other reasons, public safety concerns and the municipality's interest in preserving its tax base, and that the city's conduct did not violate RLUIPA. The ruling comes after an eight-day bench trial involving 10 fact witnesses and six expert witnesses covering topics ranging from property valuation to land use patterns in Evanston to the environmental phenomenon known as "vapor intrusion."
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