Tuesday, June 02, 2015
Church Sues Over Zoning Restrictions That Are Forcing It To Move
The San Diego Reader reports on a lawsuit filed May 28 by the San Diego Christian Worship Center against the city challenging zoning restrictions that will force the church to relocate in September. The city granted the church a 5-year conditional use permit in 2010, and the church made $700,000 of improvements to its site. In 2014 the city changed the zoning in the area to "prime industrial," which does not allow churches, and the city says it will not renew the conditional use permit. The church lacks the resources to find a new building. Apparently the complaint contends that the new zoning designation, which excludes instructional studios and entertainment venues as well as churches, amounts to a prior restraint on First Amendment expression. The church also claims-- presumably invoking RLUIPA-- that the cost of preparing an application every 5 years to renew its conditional use permit imposes a substantial burden on its exercise of religion. It will cost $50,000 to $100,000 to prepare the application, which must include an environmental impact statement.