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JUDICIAL REVIEW OF LOCAL LAND USE DECISIONS: LESSONS FROM RLUIPA

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[...] after announcing a highly deferential standard of review for zoning ordinances in Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co.,30 the Court explicitly limited its holding to facial challenges and warned that the application of a zoning ordinance to a particular piece of property might be found unreasonable.31 Less than two years later, in Nectow v.\n198 For example, in Oak Lawn Trust & Savings Bank v. City of Palos Heights,199 the Appellate Court of Illinois listed a number of factors that should be considered in determining the validity of an ordinance as applied to a property owner, including: (1) [T]he existing uses and zoning of nearby property; (2) the extent to which property values are diminished by the particular zoning restriction; (3) the extent to which the destruction of property values of plaintiff promotes the health, safety, morals or general welfare of the public; (4) the relative gain to the public as compared to the hardship imposed upon the individual property owner; (5) the suitability of the subject property for the zoned purposes; and (6) the length of time the property has been vacant as zoned, considered in the context of land development in the area in the vicinity of the subject property.200 The Oak Lawn court undertook an extensive analysis of each factor in light of the underlying factual record and concluded that the ordinance was invalid as applied to the property owner's land.201 A majority of state courts/ however, follow the lead of the federal courts and apply a deferential standard of review to asapplied zoning challenges.202 Yet, as this Article has argued, increased judicial review of as-applied zoning decisions is required both under existing Supreme Court precedent and in light of Congress's recognition that the discretionary, individualized land use decision making process differs from ordinary economic legislation and is particularly susceptible to abuse.203 CONCLUSION Since RLUIPA was enacted in 2000, many more zoning cases

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