Zoning – Part 2

Church Law and Tax 1990-03-01 Recent Developments Zoning Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA •

Church Law and Tax 1990-03-01 Recent Developments


An Arizona state appeals court ruled that county officials acted properly in prohibiting a church from using a warehouse that it constructed without a special use permit. The church purchased 40 acres of land, obtained a valid building permit from the county and made various improvements. Later, without obtaining a building permit, the church constructed a large, steel-sided building for use in printing and distributing King James versions of the Bible to persons worldwide. The 40 acres were zoned for rural use, but one of the permitted uses of the land was as a “public assembly for religious worship.” The county claimed that the church’s warehouse was in essence a “manufacturing” operation which was allowable only upon the issuance of a special use permit, and that without a permit the warehouse was a “nuisance” and its use could be prohibited by law. A trial court upheld the county’s action, and the church appealed. The church raised three arguments on appeal: (1) the warehouse was a permitted “place of religious worship” rather than a manufacturing operation; (2) the warehouse was a permitted “accessory use” of the church; and (3) the county’s action violated the constitutional guaranty of religious freedom. The state appeals court rejected all three arguments. As to the first claim, the court concluded that the warehouse was not a “place of religious worship” according to the “common, plain, natural and accepted” meaning of those words, but rather was a manufacturing operation. As to the second claim, the court simply ruled that the church had failed to raise it in the trial court and therefore could not raise it on appeal. As to the third claim, the court observed that it the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom “does not preclude government activity such as building and zoning regulations as applied to religious organizations.” In responding to the church’s argument that its religious beliefs “prohibit it from seeking state permission to operate its God-commanded ministry,” the court noted that the church had obtained a permit to build its sanctuary. It observed: “We are at a loss to understand why such religious beliefs should not by the same token prohibit it from seeking state permission to build its place of worship, which is equally a ‘God-commanded ministry.'” Cochise County v. Broken Arrow Baptist Church, 778 P.2d 1302 (Ariz. App. 1989).

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations." Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

ajax-loader-largecaret-downcloseHamburger Menuicon_amazonApple PodcastsBio Iconicon_cards_grid_caretChild Abuse Reporting Laws by State IconChurchSalary Iconicon_facebookGoogle Podcastsicon_instagramLegal Library IconLegal Library Iconicon_linkedinLock IconMegaphone IconOnline Learning IconPodcast IconRecent Legal Developments IconRecommended Reading IconRSS IconSubmiticon_select-arrowSpotify IconAlaska State MapAlabama State MapArkansas State MapArizona State MapCalifornia State MapColorado State MapConnecticut State MapWashington DC State MapDelaware State MapFederal MapFlorida State MapGeorgia State MapHawaii State MapIowa State MapIdaho State MapIllinois State MapIndiana State MapKansas State MapKentucky State MapLouisiana State MapMassachusetts State MapMaryland State MapMaine State MapMichigan State MapMinnesota State MapMissouri State MapMississippi State MapMontana State MapMulti State MapNorth Carolina State MapNorth Dakota State MapNebraska State MapNew Hampshire State MapNew Jersey State MapNew Mexico IconNevada State MapNew York State MapOhio State MapOklahoma State MapOregon State MapPennsylvania State MapRhode Island State MapSouth Carolina State MapSouth Dakota State MapTennessee State MapTexas State MapUtah State MapVirginia State MapVermont State MapWashington State MapWisconsin State MapWest Virginia State MapWyoming State IconShopping Cart IconTax Calendar Iconicon_twitteryoutubepauseplay