Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Church Sues, Surprised By Zoning Law Change

A suit was filed last week in a North Carolina federal district court by a small church challenging the zoning regulations that prevent it from using space it rented and renovated for worship services.  The complaint (full text) in At the Cross Fellowship Baptist Church Inc v. City of Monroe, North Carolina, (WD NC, filed 6/4/2018), recounts that the church leased the space after being assured by the landlord that another church had operated there in the recent past.  However, unknown to the church, an amended zoning law had been enacted in the interim which did not include churches as a permitted use there. The complaint alleges that the zoning ordinance violates its rights under RLUIPA and under the 1st and 14th Amendments.  ADF issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.