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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

The Majority View: Churches May Build in Residential Zones

Volume 2 . Chapter 7 . § 7-06.1
Key point 7-06.1. Most courts have ruled that churches have a legal right to locate in residential districts.

1. In General

It is the view of "the long line of cases"124 or "the wide majority of courts"125 that churches may not be excluded from residential districts. This conclusion generally rests upon one of two grounds: First, the exclusion of churches from residential districts infringes upon the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment; and second, a total exclusion of churches is an invalid and impermissible exercise of the police power since it cannot be said to further the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare.126

A few courts have ruled that churches may not be regulated regarding their purchase or use of property within ...

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