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• An Illinois state appeals court ruled that a city's refusal to grant a church's application for a "conditional use permit" violated the church's first amendment guaranty of religious freedom. Here are the facts. A Lutheran church in a Chicago suburb experienced explosive growth, but was left with inadequate parking space. To help solve its parking problem, the church sought permission from the city to convert two private residences that it owned on adjoining property into 57 additional parking spaces. The city denied this request on the grounds that the proposed parking lots would adversely affect the value of neighboring properties (the church was located at the entrance to a residential subdivision), and would "injure the use and enjoyment" of the neighborhood. It rejected the church's claim that a limitation on the number of its parking spaces would interfere with the free exercise ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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  • March 1, 1990

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