05/06/2016: Baltimore Jewish Times features S&A client Ariel Jewish Center and Synagogue's efforts to build in Baltimore County
Belinsky, the spiritual leader of the Ariel Jewish Center and Synagogue, a Chabad-Lubavitch congregation for Russian Jews, wants to build a permanent home for his synagogue on a 3-acre plot in Pikesville. . . .
The state court system might not be the next stop for this issue if Belinsky were to file a federal suit under [RLUIPA], which allows synagogues to be built in residential areas as a right protects religious institutions in a number of ways. As a federal statute, it trumps local zoning code. Roman Storzer, a top RLUIPA attorney who Belinsky recently retained, said[:] "In general, a government cannot burden religious exercise unless it uses the least restrictive means of [achieving a] compelling governmental interest . . . . Normal zoning rules don't apply." As far as traffic and other safety issues are concerned, Storzer said: "It's been my long experience that these types of justifications have often been used to oppose uses where they really have no merit. . . . There has to be demonstrated evidence that there is some real threat, not simply a hypothetical or speculative threat, . . .."
M. Shapiro, "Chabad Synagogue Battle Reminiscent of Cases Around State, Country," Baltimore Jewish Times (May 6, 2016)