Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Definition of "Church" for Zoning Purposes
Not all church-owned buildings qualify as a "church" under zoning law.
Key point. The definition of a "church" for purposes of zoning laws may not include a church-owned building used for social events.
A North Carolina court ruled that a church-owned house used by a church for social events was not a "church" for purposes of a local zoning law. The zoning law permitted "churches" in a city's historic district. A church owned a house in the historic district that was used for such purposes as bridge club, social gatherings, community functions, and occasional choir practices and religious instruction. The church planned to sell the home to an individual who wanted to use the home for a "bed and breakfast" establishment. The city informed the purchaser that such a use would not be permitted. The purchaser argued that the church's use of the home was also a "nonconforming" use that was allowed by the city and that could be continued by future owners. A court agreed that the home, as used by the church, was "nonconforming" since it was not a church. The court noted that the term "church" is not defined in the zoning law. It continued:

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Related Topics:
Posted: May 1, 1997
View All
from our store
Managing Church Facility Use

Managing Church Facility Use

Find insights to equip your church to host members and strangers.
Planning a Church Building Project

Planning a Church Building Project

Learn about zoning laws, property sales, church construction, financing, and more.
Avoiding Church Lawsuits

Avoiding Church Lawsuits

Create proactive procedures to avoid common reasons why churches most often go to court.
Understanding Church Insurance

Understanding Church Insurance

Understand your church's insurance needs to be assured you have adequate coverage.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Let ChurchSalary do the work. Get personalized compensation reports for staff and pastors.