The following is excerpted from "Victory! And a Building Project" at SBC's main site. We here at SBC Watch are overjoyed!
A Major Legal Victory
We have fought six years for our right to build. In a landmark civil and religious rights case in New Hampshire, a Cheshire County Superior Court judge ruled that our right of free exercise was violated by the Town of Richmond. This was the judge’s decision in a motion for summary judgment. (You can read a PDF of that order.) It took a long time, but rather than allow the case to go to trial, the Town elected to settle out of court. The settlement included a cash payment from the Town’s insurance carrier.
We invested most of that settlement money, after paying our attorneys, on needed building repairs and maintenance of our present physical plant, which is now more functional and beautiful than ever. Even with the cash settlement in hand, we could not build the chapel, because the litigation was not yet over (keep reading to see why).
The Town also agreed, almost a year later, to drop the outlandish thirty plus conditions the Planning Board imposed on us. It was these conditions — some impossible, some illegal, all expensive — that brought us to the courts in the first place. The litigation was complicated by a group of “interveners,” Richmond residents hostile to the Center, who became a third party to the case. They dragged things out and made the proceedings more costly for both the Town and the Center.
But now it’s finally over, appeals and all — after two agonizing years of site plan review and four years of litigation — and we have prevailed! Or, rather, Our Lady has prevailed through us. Deo Gratias!