The Real Deal Miami

Sunny Isles, synagogue to settle historic designation spat

Four-year-old lawsuit over Temple B'Nai Zion's landmark tag about to be resolved
June 24, 2014 10:30AM

Temple B’Nai Zion

Temple B’Nai Zion

Sunny Isles Beach is on the verge of settling a lengthy dispute with a synagogue that claimed its religious freedom was breached when the city designated its building as a historic landmark.

The city is expected to bring the settlement to commissioners for approval before finalizing the agreement with Temple B’Nai Zion. The synagogue filed a federal lawsuit against Sunny Isles in December 2010 after the city gave the 200 178th Street building a historic designation. A 2004 reunion of more than 200 Holocaust survivors at the synagogue was cited by the city as the reason for the designation.

Temple B’Nai Zion claimed the designation violated the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which bans governments from using zoning laws to prohibit religious assembly, according to the Miami Herald. Leaders of the synagogue felt the historic tag would prevent it from future expansion.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams dismissed the lawsuit in May 2012, but the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision in August 2013. A court-appointed mediator facilitated settlement discussions.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. [Miami Herald]Eric Kalis