Tag: zoning

May 3, 2015
logo for Tree of Life schools

A Christian ministry that wanted to open a school in an office complex they owned, had their appeal heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit last week. They are suing the city of Upper Arlington, Ohio, under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act – which is a cousin to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The RLUIPA is used by religious groups to force cities to change zoning laws that conflict with the group’s religious agenda.

Last year, about this time, I posted about a Christian ministry, Tree of Life, who purchased the largest office complex in Upper Arlington. They wanted to run a private school on the site and the city denied their zoning change request several times. Tree of Life sued in federal court.

December 25, 2014
photo of the inside of a strip club
I’m sure there are plenty of believers in a strip club

One tool local governments use to protect religious privilege are zoning laws. They are regulations that spell out what people can and can’t do with their property. Many zoning regulations specifically spell out protections for religious property like churches while other zoning laws are used more subtly like getting a Zombie Nativity removed.

April 30, 2014
Logo for Tree of Life Christian Schools

The city of Upper Arlington is a land locked suburb of Columbus Ohio. Because of a lack of room for expansion they have passed ordinances to protect their property tax base by controlling how property can be used. Tree of Life Christian Schools purchased a seven building office complex in 2010 and want to consolidate the private schools they run at the location. Schools are one of the land uses prohibited by the city. Tree of Life sued in federal court and a judge ruled that the religious school wasn’t discriminated against.