© 2022 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Litchfield Historic District Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Dismiss Synagogue Dispute

The Historic District of Litchfield Connecticut is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out a lawsuit regarding the rejection of plans for a synagogue in 2007. Chabad Lubavitch of Northwest Connecticut cited the Litchfield Historic District Commission for religious discrimination over the denial of modifications to their building. 

The commission and the Borough of Litchfield asked the Supreme Court on Monday to hear the case. The move comes after the lawsuit was at first dismissed by a federal judge, then reinstated by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan in September.

Upon reinstatement,  C. Scott Schwefel, a lawyer for the Historic District Commission, told The Associated Press:

"We're confident that the District Court ... will determine that there is still no genuine issue of material facts and will again dismiss the action."

The Chabad is squarely situated in the historic district of Litchfield, so the historic district has jurisdiction over the exterior features of the building visible from a public way. Following state mandate, the Chabad had applied to the historic district commission in order to construct an addition to their existing synagogue.

After multiple discussions, the commission denied the application, pending modifications to the design and submission of an amended proposal.

The plans for the addition included a synagogue, rabbi's residence, and pool for a summer camp. The commission cited that the 17,000-square-foot addition was too large and out of character with other buildings in the historic district.

This report includes information from The Associated Press.

Related Content
  • Federal lawmakers will vote in the coming days on the bipartisan Safer Communities Act that includes gun reforms championed by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy from Connecticut. It would expand background checks for people under 21, offer federal funds to help states take away guns from holders at risk of hurting themselves or others, and give the federal government more power to tackle gun trafficking. A sticking point in recent federal negotiations for gun reform was an attempt by Democratic U.S. senators to close the so-called "boyfriend loophole" that allows unmarried abusers to get guns. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut says the agreement may not close the loophole, but it will “substantially shrink” it.
  • Connecticut Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy say they’ve reached a bipartisan agreement that’ll yield at least 10 Republican votes for federal gun legislation. The deal includes federal prosecution for those who make “straw” purchases, made on behalf of those who cannot legally buy them; funding for states to enact and enforce red flag laws that temporarily take guns away from high-risk owners; and an effort to give law enforcement more time to do background checks on gun buyers under 21 years old.
  • Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski continues to blame Gov. Ned Lamont for inflation.