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• A federal appeals court was asked to decide whether a church's constitutional rights were violated by a city ordinance prohibiting churches from meeting without a special use permit. An Evanston, Illinois zoning ordinance permits churches to locate anywhere in the city provided they obtain a special use permit from the city. To secure a permit, a church must file a detailed plan for the use of the facilities and pay a fee of approximately $400. The city zoning board then holds a hearing and renders a decision. The entire process takes between four and six months. Churches conducting services without a permit are guilty of a misdemeanor and are subject to fines of $25 to $500 per day. A small, fundamentalist church began conducting services in Evanston without a permit. The church met in the pastor's apartment, and then in a rented hotel room. It sought a permanent location, but allegedly ...

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Posted:
  • September 3, 1990