A $290,000 settlement has been reached in a Florida church’s years-long case against a city for refusing permission to build a sanctuary. The Church of Our Savior in Jacksonville Beach had been holding meetings in a rented wooden chapel, local restaurants and members’ homes. Member bought land for a permanent meeting site, but city officials refused permission, citing the character of the neighborhood. A court eventually ruled that the city, under federal law, must allow the church to use the land it bought. And now the Alliance Defending Freedom has announced an agreement in which the city must pay “$290,000 in attorneys’ fees and expenses the church incurred to defend its constitutionally and legally protected freedoms.”

“A city’s zoning restrictions cannot be used to single out churches for discrimination, so we are pleased at the outcome of this case,” said Daniel P. Dalton of the Michigan law firm Dalton & Tomich, an ADF affiliate. He cited the court’s ruling that the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act meant the city couldn’t interfere with the church’s plans to build a facility. CONTINUE