Monday, April 15, 2019
The March 28 article on zoning and the halal slaughter house shows we have a really gutless, spineless City Council, that was completely suckered on this issue. Councilors Pepper and Seifeldein are particularly deserving of contempt. If Pepper did not like this particular land-use, she should have voted against, it is that simple.
Councilor Seifeldein reasoning is false and legally very weak. He seems to not comprehend it is a slaughterhouse. It is not a mosque, church, temple, synagogue, seminary or basilica. It is a privately owned, for profit slaughter house with a particular business model. That is far from the intent of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. The Act deals with the religious rights of prisoners and allows religious institutions a way to avoid zoning and landmark laws. It will serve customers not prisoners. So now a slaughter house in an industrial park is a landmark.
Many years back, there was a similar zoning case with a privately owned, for profit Christian day school in Fairfax County. The school was located in an industrial park and contended they were not subject to various zoning and safety regulations because it was a school based on Christian theology. Ultimately they lost. This situation is not distinctly different. Both are privately owned, for profit businesses. Thus, the council was suckered. Only two members showed any spine. Also, where was our city attorney on this issue? Where is the religious freedom question Seifeldein was hiding behind? This another example in a long line of very poor council decisions.
The bottom line is the slaughter house is simply a poor idea that should have never been permitted.
William L. Blumberg