Monday, June 4, 2012

Murfreesboro Mosque – continued

Another interesting detail that crops up following the decision of the Mosque case and the possible rehearing of the matter by the Rutherford County Planning Commission, is the impact of the prior decision by the Planning Commission.

Since the Commission approved the submitted site plan when it was first presented, and because site plan review is generally done without a public hearing (there is a public meeting, but ordinarily the public has no right to speak concerning the application), it is unclear as to how a different result could be obtained.

Certainly, the opponents are counting on the strength of their political opposition, and most assuredly, the Planning Commission will likely allow members of the public to speak. But it’s a foregone conclusion that most of those comments will have little or nothing to do with the actual merits of the application and have more to do with an attack on the issue of the religious entity itself. Since Chancellor Corlew has already ruled that the applicant is a religion, that approach before the Planning Commission won’t be very effective legally, although who knows about the political ramifications.

Ultimately, it seems as though the Planning Commission will be presented with a site plan which it has already approved, and it would seem that approval upon reconsideration is likely as well.

If the site plan is not approved, the Mosque will have recourse to the Tennessee Religious Freedom Restoration  Act, and unless some startling new proof is presented to the Planning Commission, it would be difficult for a reviewing court not find in favor of the Mosque, given the parameters of the statute.

As I said in my last post, only time will tell…

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