In one of two federal lawsuits filed by the Seven Hills and Cattle Company and Reverge Anselmo, Federal Judge William B. Shubb granted judgment in favor of Shasta County.
In the decision, the court stated the claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act was premature and “plaintiffs do not identify any immediate injury in connection with the implementation of a land use regulation.” The court also noted the “plaintiffs never completed the application process for either a rezoning or building permit.”
With respect to the allegations of constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C 1983, the court stated the following:
1.Plaintiffs failed to satisfactorily explain how the alleged deprivations were due to an official government policy;
2.Even if plaintiffs could point to an official policy, the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution does not excuse individuals from compliance with neutral laws of general
3.Plaintiffs failed to show that there was no rational basis for the application of those neutral laws of general applicability; and
4.Plaintiffs failed to provide the court with any California law or precedent that they had “protected property interest in using the chapel when they did not obtain a building permit nor did they explain how the County failed to provide the opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.”
The ruling means this the plaintiffs will not recover damages they sought or an order compelling the county “to process and approve a building permit for the private chapel, and to rescind the ‘red tag’ stop order, and to prohibit the county from pursuit of any civil or criminal prosecution against the plaintiffs based on enforcement of the Shasta County land use regulations as they pertain to the chapel.”