VILLAGE OF CANTON SIDESTEPS LIQUOR LAW ARGUMENT
CANTON, NY – On March 7 Christian Fellowship Center (CFC) formally requested that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York declare the Village of Canton’s zoning code in violation of the Equal Terms provision of the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).
Canton currently allows nonreligious organizations similar to churches to operate in the C-1 district where CFC purchased its building, but excludes actual religious assemblies who wish to hold worship services.
The only reason the Village gave for denying the church permission to worship at its 25 Court Street property was the New York liquor law, which prohibits liquor sales within 200 feet of a church. However, the church pointed to strong legal precedent, holding that a liquor law designed to protect churches cannot be used to prohibit people from worshipping.
On March 18, the Village filed a response to CFC’s request to the Court. However, it failed to mention—much less defend—its liquor law rational.
John Mauck, attorney for CFC said, “In denying permission for the church to meet at its 25 Court Street location, the Village cited the New York liquor law as the sole reason. Why then, in a 317 page brief does Canton make no mention of this law? We welcome the public to consider the legal and common-sense arguments raised by each party by viewing these court documents available on mauckbaker.com.”
Mauck & Baker filed a reply on March 18 that refocused the argument on the main issue, stating that “The Village devotes much ink to examining the Church’s locations in parts of the state and places where the Church previously rented in the Village or could potentially rent on March 31, 2019. All of this, however, misses the point and fails to address the substantive arguments [the right to worship at 25 Court Street] advanced by the Church.”
Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction
Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law Supporting Preliminary Injunction
Defendant's Response - Gregg T. Johnson
Defendant's Response - Gerald J. Ducharme
Defendant's Response - Michael Dalton
Defendant's Response - Carol Pynchon
Defendant's Response - Conrad Stuntz
Defendant's Memorandum of Law
Plaintiff's Reply in Support of Injunctive Relief
Posted on Mon, March 25, 2019
by Mauck Baker