Feds Settle Lawsuit Over Walnut Refusal To Build Zen Buddhist Center

WEST COVINA (CBS) — The federal government has reportedly settled its religious discrimination lawsuit against the city of Walnut.

KNX 1070’s Pat Haslem reports the action comes on the heels of the federal lawsuit filed against Walnut for denying a Buddhist group a building permit to construct a Zen center in the city.

The government claimed city officials violated the civil rights of the group Chung Tai in denying a conditional use permit to build, expand, or operate a house of worship.

Since 1980, the city has not denied any other religious group such a permit.

The feds also pointed out that as recently as 2008, Walnut had approved a conditional use permit for the construction of a Catholic Church.

The federal complaint also alleged the city treated the Zen center differently because it was to be the first non-Christian religious center in Walnut.

As part of the settlement, the city has agreed not to impose differential zoning or building requirements on other houses of worship, and city leaders have agreed to have certain city officials attend training on the requirements of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.


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