Muslim Cmty. Ass’n of Ann Arbor & Vicinity v. Pittsfield Charter Twp. (E.D. Mich. 2013): Discrimination in Zoning Regulations

The Plaintiff, the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor, challenged the Pittsfield Charter Township, the Township Board, Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal, and six Township Board of Trustees Members for their refusal to re-zone the area surrounding the Plaintiff so that the Plaintiff could expand and build a school. Although an independent outside planner endorsed the rezoning, the Plaintiff alleged that the Respondents denied rezoning due to concerns from community members, stemming largely from an animus to the Islamic faith. By denying the rezoning proposal on this basis, the Plaintiff claimed that the Respondents discriminated against the organization in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and “state law claims” in the Michigan state constitution. The Respondents filed a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. The District Court determined that the Plaintiff sufficiently pleaded the Township Board of Trustees’ individual liability under Section 1983. However, the District Court dismissed the other claims alleging violations of RLUIPA, the US Constitution, and the Michigan Constitution.

Read the case.