Town sued over denial of religious group's expansion plans

The latest battle pitting a religious group against a town zoning board is playing out in federal court.

In a lawsuit, the U.S. attorney's office claims Woodcliff Lake, in northern Bergen County, has illegally barred an Orthodox Jewish group from expanding its current facility or buying property to build a new one.

The town denies the allegation and says the group's plans didn't meet zoning requirements.

The lawsuit on behalf of Valley Chabad says that years ago, a town official voiced concerns that the town would end up like nearby Monsey, New York, which has a sizable Orthodox Jewish population.

Disputes involving religious groups have occurred in several other New Jersey towns. Last year, the town of Bernards agreed to pay $3.25 million to a group whose plan to build a mosque it had rejected.