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United States of America v. City of Walnut

May 31, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF, AND
CHUNG TAI INTERNATIONAL CHAN BUDDHIST ASSOCIATION, PLAINTIFF-INTERVENOR,
v.
CITY OF WALNUT, CALIFORNIA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable George H. Wu

AGREED ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

1. This Agreed Order is entered into between the Chung Tai International Chan Buddhist Association ("Zen Center") and the City of Walnut, California ("City" or "Walnut").

2. This action was brought initially by the Department of Justice of the United States of America on September 13, 2010, to enforce provisions of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 ("RLUIPA").

3. On March 8, 2011, the Zen Center, as a Plaintiff-Intervenor, filed a complaint in intervention. The Zen Center's Complaint in Intervention alleged claims for violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 ("RLUIPA") (42 U.S.C. §2000cc et seq.), 42 U.S.C. §1983 (First and Fourteenth Amendments), and the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. §3601).

4. The Zen Center's allegations arise out of the City's Planning Commission's denial of the Zen Center's application for Conditional Use Permit to construct a new Buddhist house of worship on a parcel of land it owned, located at 20836 Marcon Drive in Walnut, California. Under the Walnut Code, houses of worship may operate in this area if granted a Conditional Use Permit.

5. As a result of the denial of its Conditional Use Permit application, the Zen Center sold the property on Marcon Drive and relocated to Pomona, where it now operates a Buddhist house of worship.

6. The Department of Justice and the City resolved their dispute with an Agreed Order. The Zen Center and City of Walnut also agree that the Zen Center's Complaint in Intervention should be amicably resolved without further expense and unnecessary litigation. Accordingly, the Zen Center and City agree to the terms of an entry of this Agreed Order, as indicated by their signatures below.

Accordingly, it is hereby ordered, adjudged and decreed as follows:

II. Training

7. The City shall retain a qualified person or organization who, no later than 18 months from May 1, 2012, or within 30 days of an application for a land use implicating RLUIPA, whichever is sooner, will provide training on the requirements of RLUIPA to each member of the City Council, the Walnut Planning Commission, the City Manager, the Director of Community Development, and any City employee or contractor involved in the processing or review of CUP applications.

8. Updated training shall occur three years from the date of entry of the Agreed Order, except that, if there is an application for a land use implicating RLUIPA subsequent to the last training and there are individuals defined in ¶ 7 who have not received training, then the second training shall occur within 30 days of said application.

9. The trainer shall have reasonable discretion to require that any one or more trainees be re-trained, if the trainee does not meet the ...


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