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Pastor, Church & LawMember access only

by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

The Minority View: The Government May Restrict Church Construction in Residential Zones

§ 7.06.02
Key point 7-06.02. Some courts permit local zoning commissions to restrict the location of churches in residential areas.

Some courts are willing to exclude churches from residential zones. Generally, this result has been accomplished in two ways: (1) Courts have simply upheld municipal decisions denying a church's application for a permit to acquire property in a residential zone. These courts reason that the interests of neighboring residents and the integrity of the residential community as a whole outweigh any interest the church has in locating in the zone. (2) Some courts have upheld the legal validity of municipal zoning laws prohibiting churches in residential zones.

In one of the first cases to break from the majority rule, a California state appeals court upheld a city's exclusion of churches from single-family residential districts. In defending its conclusion, the court ...

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