Bernards Township's insistence that a proposed mosque have more parking spaces than churches or synagogues is unconstitutional, a federal judge said in a ruling filed New Year's Eve.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Shipp's ruling eviscerates the township's main reason for rejecting Islamic Society of Basking Ridge's plan to build a mosque in the Liberty Corner section of town.
The court victory is a turning point in the nearly four-year saga of the Islamic Society's desire to move its worship from rented space to a mosque.
That plan, which triggered neighborhood opposition, went through 39 planning board meetings before being rejected in December of 2015. The mosque then sued, claiming the township's requirement of a "supersized" parking lot was a perfect example of religious discrimination.