The Majority View: Churches May Build in Residential Zones
Key point 7-06.01. Most courts have ruled that churches have a legal right to locate in residential districts.
1. IN GENERAL
Many courts have ruled that churches may not be excluded from residential districts. This conclusion generally rests upon one of two grounds: First, the exclusion of churches from residential districts infringes upon the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment; and second, a total exclusion of churches is an invalid and impermissible exercise of the police power since it cannot be said to further the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare.
A few courts have ruled that churches may not be regulated regarding their purchase or use of property within residential zones. See, e.g., Community Synagogue v. Bates, 1 N.Y.S.2d 445 (1956). However, most courts have concluded that while churches may not be excluded from residential zones, their location ...
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