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• A federal appeals court ruled that a church's constitutional right to religious freedom was not violated by a county's refusal to permit the church to construct a sanctuary on land not specifically zoned for church uses. The church owned an 80-acre tract of vacant land in an area zoned for agricultural uses. Its application for a special permit to construct a sanctuary was rejected by the county planning commission because of a number of concerns, including access problems, erosion hazards, and inadequate fire protection at the site. The appeals court rejected the church's claim that its right to freely exercise its religion had been violated by the county's action. It found that the county's action did "not in any way regulate the religious beliefs of the church," and did not regulate "any religious conduct of the church or its members." The court concluded that "a church has no ...

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  • March 1, 1989