Town cannot impose greater parking requirements for a mosque than for churches or synagogues

A town violated the Religious Land Use-Institutionazlied Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc to 2000cc-5, when its planning board required a mosque to provide off-street parking for every single member as a condition of receiving a building permit when it had not imposed similar requirements for churches and synagogues. Islamic Soc'y of Basking Ridge v. Twp. of Bernards, 2016 U.S. DIst. LEXIS 180568 (D.N.J. 2016).

The town had reasoned that, because religious services were on Friday afternoons, almost every person would be using a car to attend services while the same would not be true for churches and syanagogues. The court found this reasoning to be discriminatory since the proposed mosque plan was subjected to unprecedented individualized inquiry that had not taken place for other non-Islamic religious institutions in the past. That constituted a RLUIPA violation because it violated the "equal terms" provisions which prohibit "impos[ing] or implement[ing] a land use regulation in a manner that discriminates against any assembly or institution on the basis of religion or religious denomination."

The court also found the parking ordinance unconstitutionally vague.