Land Use Attorneys
and Business Law Experts

Partners to Religious Organizations, Property Owners and Businesses


Church land use and zoning cases are complex. Relocating a church isn’t just a simple real estate transaction. Religious institutions often encounter discrimination from municipalities and other local governments before or during the land use planning process, including after denial of a zoning variance or conditional use permit, or in another planning commission decision.

The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) protects organizations like yours from such discrimination. Churches, their insurers and other religious institutions across the country have won RLUIPA cases and successfully defending their rights to acquire and occupy new land with the help of the experienced religious land use and zoning attorneys at Dalton & Tomich PLC. Case studies highlighting many of those victories may be found below.

Free Religious Land Use & Zoning Guides

Have you recently purchased a building or land and discovered you can’t use it because it isn’t zoned for religious assembly? Learn how to navigate the process and win the right to use your property.

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Court Enters Judgment and Adds to Major Attorney Fee Award in RLUIPA Case Against Borough of Litchfield, CT

  • April 2, 2020
  • by Noel Sterett

On March 31, 2020, the United States District Court of Connecticut issued a ruling which added nearly $100,000 in attorneys’ fees, costs and interest to an existing fee award of over $700,000 against the Borough of Litchfield, CT. By way of background, Dalton & Tomich […]

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Illinois Appellate Court rules against Winnebago County, upholds protections of the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act and the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act in ongoing case filed by County pediatric nurse

  • March 9, 2020
  • by Emily

Media Contacts: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus   Communications; barbara@eafocus.com; 248.260.8466; Noel Sterett; nsterett@daltontomich.com; 815.997.7221 Rockford, Illinois —March 9, 2020—Noel Sterett, a religious liberty attorney and partner  in the Rockford, Illinois office of Detroit-based law firm Dalton + Tomich,announced a favorable decision on Friday, March 6 from the […]

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Noel W. Sterett named a partner at Dalton & Tomich

  • March 4, 2020
  • by Emily

Media Contacts: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus   Communications; barbara@eafocus.com; 248.260.8466; Daniel Dalton; ddalton@daltontomich.com; 248.229.2329 Detroit—March 4, 2020—Daniel Dalton and Zana Tomich, co-founders of Detroit-based land use and business law firm Dalton + Tomich,are pleased to announce attorney Noel W. Sterett has been named a partner. Based in […]

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Federal Court Denies Government’s Attempt to Dismiss Church’s RLUIPA Lawsuit

  • March 3, 2020
  • by Adel Nucho

A federal court sided with a church that wants to build a bigger facility in Prince George County, Maryland (the “County”). After purchasing four parcels, the church was confronted with a two-step development process. Step One – Where the Church Faced Denial: The first step […]

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Quick RLUIPA Win in New York: Consent Decree Frees Mount Zion Ministries Church to Locate in Whitestown

  • February 10, 2020
  • by Noel Sterett

The only thing better than a win is a quick win. Case in point, just over a week after we filed suit on behalf of Mount Zion Ministries Church (also operating as Redeemer Church), we were able to obtain an order protecting the church’s right […]

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Federal Court Denies Motion to Dismiss RLUIPA School Case

  • January 29, 2020
  • by Lawrence Opalewski

It is well known to RLUIPA practitioners that the statute does not apply only to traditional worship assemblies. RLUIPA also applies to other religious institutions such as schools. This is important because many state and local laws are written in a way that favors public […]

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Addressing Homeless Ministries through RLUIPA: Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church v. The City of Lenexa, Kansas

  • December 17, 2019
  • by Daniel P. Dalton

Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church (“Shawnee Mission Church” or “Church”) has a long and proud history of ministering to the poorest and most vulnerable populations of Lenexa, Kansas and the greater Johnson County area. Over the last several years, the Church has advanced their ministry […]

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RLUIPA Protects Homeless Shelters within Churches – Our latest case in Kansas

  • November 22, 2019
  • by Daniel P. Dalton

Today we filed suit on behalf of Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church against the City of Lenexa, Kansas, who, has used zoning to deny the Church the ability to use its building to serve the homeless in Johnson County, Kansas. At its heart, this case […]

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Using RLUIPA when appearing before local planning and zoning boards

  • November 5, 2019
  • by Daniel P. Dalton

In the past several months, we have found that the strategic use of the Religious Land Use and institutionalized Persons Act (also known as RLUIPA) can be used to successfully persuade members of a Planning Commission or Zoning Board of Adjustment / Appeals to approve […]

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Defining “religious exercise” under RLUIPA in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

  • September 26, 2019
  • by Daniel P. Dalton

  Today we had the opportunity to argue the parameters of RLUIPA before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Missouri in the case of St. John Vianney High School v. City of Kirkwood, Missouri.  In this case, the City of Kirkwood approved the renovation […]

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About Us


The attorneys of Dalton & Tomich, PLC have the experience and the knowledge to work with you to develop a legal solution that helps accomplish your goals. Our collaborative approach has helped leaders like you grow businesses and banks, develop and expand churches, and build nonprofit organizations nationwide.