June 11, 2008
Texas Church Wins Seven-Year Land Use Struggle
Yesterday, Judge Royal Furgeson, a federal judge in San Antonio, Texas, issued a consent decree that ended seven years of litigation between Castle Hills First Baptist Church and the City of Castle Hills, Texas. The consent decree essentially handed victory to the church.
According to a release issued by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, in the late 1990s, Castle Hills, a San Antonio suburb,
repeatedly denied the church permission to expand its church and school buildings, as well as the use of its adjacent property it owned for parking. The city also went on a ... rampage against the church, calling the church a “cancer, feeding on homes in much the same way as a cancerous tumor feeds on healthy cells,” and enacting parking regulations that forbade parking near the church — but only on Sunday mornings.
Delighted with the outcome, Eric Rassbach, National Litigation Director at the Becket Fund reacted as follows: “Good things come to those who wait, but it sure would have been better for all concerned if the city had realized it was wrong to discriminate against the church in the first place. We’re pleased that our client was persistent enough to finally receive justice.”
Castle Hills First Baptist filed suit against the city in 2001. After seven years of litigation, yesterday's consent decree allows the church to add on the fourth floor it had requested permission to build and to use its adjacent property for overflow parking and other purposes.
To read consent decree, click here.
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