On February 2, 2013, the US Department of Justice announced a settlement with the City of Lomita after a lengthy investigation surrounding its refusal to grant the Islamic Center of South Bay permission to renovate.
As part of the settlement agreement, a federal judge will oversee the process whereby a new proposal to renovate the Islamic Center is reviewed by the City. The settlement also requires city leaders and employees involved in land use decisions to attend training on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and to post a public notice about the agreement.
The city council had initially voted against the Islamic Center’s proposal to renovate its aging property in 2010, despite the City Planning Department’s approval of the plan. In March 2012, Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick joined with CAIR-LA to file a suit alleging that the decision was made due to anti-Muslim bias and that it caused a substantial burden to their exercise of religion. The Justice Department’s decision this month strengthens a conditional settlement reached in January between ICSB and the city to consider a new proposal on an expedited basis, waiving application fees and paying attorneys’ fees.