Comments on: Planning Group Postpones Jesuit Request it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: David Cahill David Cahill Fri, 13 Jun 2014 00:09:54 +0000 Thanks, Jim!

By: Jim Fink Jim Fink Thu, 12 Jun 2014 03:16:11 +0000 Re: David Cahill

RLUIPA, not RILPUA. [link]

Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The land use provisions of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc, et seq., protect individuals, houses of worship, and other religious institutions from discrimination in zoning and landmarking laws (for information on RLUIPA’s institutionalized persons provisions, please refer to the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section ).

By: Andrew L. Bemish Andrew L. Bemish Thu, 12 Jun 2014 00:32:13 +0000 I am writing this comment as a long-time lawyer in private practice who sees much controversy over something that has been well settled law in Michigan since 1984.

The definition of “functional family” has been settled since July 19, 1984 by our Supreme Court in the case of Charter Township of Delta v. Dinolfo, 419 Mich 253. [link]
In this case, the Court found an ordinance limiting occupancy to a “traditional” family unit too restrictive and unconstitutional in light of Defendants’ living as a functional family.

This family unit consisted of two biological families living with six single unrelated adults in the same household. The common bond shared by these individuals was their membership in the Work of Christ Community, a legitimate religious organization recognized by our State’s government as an ecclesial non-profit entity and a federally qualified tax exempt organization.
The Court stated:

“Each of these households functions as a family in a single housekeeping unit and members intend to reside in their respective households permanently. All of the members of these “families” have adopted their lifestyle as a means of living out the Christian commitment that they stress is an important part of their lives.” (Dinolfo at 258.)

The Court later held:

“We conclude that this ordinance, which prohibits the defendants from including in their households six unrelated persons, is unreasonable and arbitrary and, accordingly, in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Michigan Constitution.” (Dinolfo at 258.)

In this matter, the Jesuit Community meets the definition of a functional family just as the Work of Christ Community did in living out their Christian commitment. No other decision is possible without the Planning Commission acting to deny the Jesuit’s their rights guaranteed by Michigan’s Constitution. Ultimately, failure to recognize the Jesuit’s constitutional rights to live as a functional family could lead to a law suit which has excellent chances of being decided in their favor.

/s/ Andrew L. Bemish, attorney-at-law

By: Alan Goldsmith Alan Goldsmith Sun, 08 Jun 2014 10:47:44 +0000 David, sounds like the City Attorney’s office isn’t aware of any laws outside from outside of Ann Arbor.

By: David Cahill David Cahill Sat, 07 Jun 2014 13:52:25 +0000 There is a federal statute intended to protect religious institutions from being “zoned out” by municipalities. Its abbreviation is “RILUPA”, which I think means “Religious Institutions Land Use Protection Act”. The basic idea is that a government has to have an extraordinary reason to restrict land use.

Why hasn’t this statute been considered? Is housing not considered religious?

By: Bruce Skinner Bruce Skinner Fri, 06 Jun 2014 00:17:35 +0000 What I find in reading the letter from Shadigan and Jackson is it strikes me as purely emotional. These two residents are coming out with their reasons why the dislike the Jesuits without providing any evidence as to why the Jesuit order is guilty of the wrongs committed by some Catholics.

First, they by criticize the Jesuits for being a male only order, but neglect to mention that there are female only orders in the church as well. The Sisters of Charity is one that comes to mind. They mention the sex abuse scandal that hit the Catholic Church, and at the end of their letter, they state they are parishioners of St. Thomas Parish. Well, we could turn around and use their logic in their letter to state that they are as guilty of what they criticize the Jesuits for since they are members of the same church.

Second, it would be unjust of anyone to accuse every single member of any community, be it a church, profession, ethnicity, etc., of the wrongs committed by some members. Shaidigian is a physician, and we can find instances of physicians who have committed acts most people would find horrendous. One physician here in Ann Arbor had to give up his practice for exhibiting acts of pedophilia. Here’s the link to that case: [link]. We have another Detroit area physician who is currently in prison and set to go to trial for milking insurance companies by treating his patients with unnecessary cancer related treatments. The link to that is here: [link]. The other author of that letter is a social worker. Jackson is a social worker, and here’s a link to an article where a social worker was sentenced for sex abuse: [link].

Based on their logic, it appears to me Shadigian and Jackson should move out of that neighborhood since they come from professions that have registered sex offenders as well. Their logic is flawed. Let’s get serious now. Every group has perverts, heretics, hypocrites, etc. Shadigian and Jackson’s complaint is based on pure emotion, and we don’t make decisions like this on emotion. Whatever the final decision is on this issue, let it be based purely on facts and the law.

By: Larry Eiler Larry Eiler Wed, 04 Jun 2014 20:58:32 +0000 My gracious. What will these Priests do to the neighborhood. Pray it down? What a foolish discussion.

By: Jeff Hayner Jeff Hayner Wed, 04 Jun 2014 19:44:42 +0000 To clarify it has not been my experience that HDC is to be avoided. I think they do a fine job in support of historic preservation.

By: Mary Morgan Mary Morgan Wed, 04 Jun 2014 19:07:56 +0000 Re. “The letter from Shadigian and Jackson…”

Here’s a .pdf of the letter: [link]

By: Jeff Hayner Jeff Hayner Wed, 04 Jun 2014 18:46:20 +0000 What is one probable result of this delay and indecision by planning commission? People will stop coming before the city, and just do what they want without seeking city approval. This happens all the time in the Historic Districts, property owners are in such fear of delays, added expenses, and poor outcomes that work is deferred, or just done without proper permitting. Neither is a preferable outcome, but that IS what is happening.

What would have been the outcome had this home been sold, and no one notified of the change in family makeup? Would the neighbors have ever known? It is a seven bedroom house, for goodness sake. There is enough room for everyone.

And speaking to the need in the city to increase density, which many of the planning commission members are clearly in favor of- why must all this density be gained only in the downtown areas though high-rise stack and pack new construction? Small changes to permitted uses in the neighborhoods would go a long way towards adding density to the city in an environmentally friendly way. This planning commission continues to miss the forest for the trees.