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Petroleum Contamination of Church Property

Court rejects church's injunction against neighboring gas station.


Key point. Most cities have enacted building codes that prescribe minimum standards in the construction of buildings. The courts have ruled that these laws may be applied to churches so long as they are reasonably related to the promotion of public health and safety.

A federal court in Wisconsin ruled that a church was not entitled to a restraining order barring further contamination of its property by an adjacent property that for many years had been used as a gas station. A gas station was opened in 1955. The station had a history of gasoline spills including a significant petroleum spill which occurred in 1983. In 1996 the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued the owner a letter demanding that it address the spills. The owner hired an engineering company that remediated the property to a level approved by the state.

In 2001, a church purchased property adjacent to the gas station. ...

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  • November 1, 2010