Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Pennsylvania Church Can Move into Business District

Pennsylvania Church Can Move into Business District

After attorneys with Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit, city officials in Titusville, Pa., revised a local zoning ordinance and will allow churches to lease commercial business space.

Lighthouse Christian Center sought to lease a building in a zone that allowed theaters, clubs, lodges, bars and amusement parks – but officials denied the request. Liberty Counsel filed suit, charging that the so-called "church-free" zoning ordinance violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, said he's pleased local governments are getting the message that churches are not second-class property owners.

"The First Amendment and federal law," he said in a statement, "provide that churches and houses of worship should receive equal, if not preferential, treatment to other similar zoning uses."

Source: http://www.citizenlink.org/CLBriefs/A000004767.cfm


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