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Zoning Ordianance Ruled Unconstitutional

A court recently made an important ruling.

• Does a county's practice of prohibiting churches from building new facilities if neighboring residents object violate the churches' constitutional right of religious freedom? Yes, concluded a federal district court in Alabama in an important ruling. A county adopted a new zoning ordinance that limited churches to "institutional districts." The ordinance purposely failed to recognize any land as an institutional district, so that churches would be forced to seek a zoning variance before purchasing property for church use. This procedure was designed to give the county "better site development controls over institutional construction." A Mormon congregation that had outgrown its existing facility attempted to purchase land on which it proposed to construct a new sanctuary. It filed an application to have the property rezoned as an "institutional district," but its application was denied ...

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  • March 1, 1991

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