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Ruling: No Discrimination In Church Rejection

Updated: Monday, February 24 2014, 09:27 PM EST
The U.S. Justice Department says the Town of Sylva did not discriminate when it turned down a church's request to relocate on Main Street.

Last summer, Father's House of Prayer asked for a zoning change so it could move to a building on Main Street. The town rejected that request saying churches can only locate in free standing buildings or on upper floors in the commercial district. But federal law prohibits towns from using zoning to block churches from relocating.

The Justice Department reviewed Sylvia's policy and while it found the town did not discriminate, the town manager says it's asking for other changes.

"The changes that are going to be made won't affect the use of that building. That building is still going to be used for retail or a restaurant," said Sylva Town Manager Paige Roberson.
    
The Justice department wants Sylva to allow churches in zoning districts designated as mixed plan use and to allow funeral homes in stand-alone buildings in business districts. Those changes are on the agenda for the town's board meeting March 6th.Ruling: No Discrimination In Church Rejection


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