A federal judge recently struck down a motion to dismiss claims of religious discrimination by the Historic District Commission — among the latest developments in a busy summer of depositions and motions in a legal battle between the borough’s historic preservationists and a local Orthodox Jewish congregation.
The filings push the case closer to what Chabad Lubavitch of Northwest Connecticut requested in its lawsuit: a jury trial that would rule on the commission’s ability to dictate the size and appearance of religious buildings in a borough listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Led by Rabbi Joseph I. Eisenbach, the local Chabad congregation seeks to build a temple and community center on West Street near the Green.
The Historic District Commission voted against granting a “certificate of appropriateness” in December 2007. The commission ruled that the 21,000-square-foot addition proposed was too large and not compatible with the 2,656-square-foot, two-story former home built in 1872 by one of the town’s most prominent early citizens, Julius Deming.