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Colorado Church Wins Zoning Dispute

Church wanted to operate a school on its premises, despite zoning laws prohibiting it.

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Key point. Some courts have ruled that the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom permits churches to operate private schools on their premises even though those premises are not zoned for school use.

A federal court in Colorado ruled that a city violated the constitutional rights of a church by refusing to allow it to conduct a school on its premises. The church is located in an area that is zoned for residential and church uses, but not for school uses. The church began operating a school on its premises and was later ordered to close the school by county zoning authorities on the ground that the church's property was not zoned for school use. The school later sued the county, claiming that its first amendment right to freely exercise its religion was violated by the county's actions. A federal court agreed. The court began its opinion by observing that the question here is ...

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  • May 1, 1996

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