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Injunction Allows Georgian Church to Temporarily Meet at Building

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By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter
July 30, 2012|5:09 pm

A Georgian County has agreed to an injunction that allows for a church to meet on property smaller than three acres as a suit regarding the church's right to meet at the property continues.

The injunction, agreed to by Rockdale County last week, allows for New Generation Christian Church to meet at a facility that the county says violates zoning laws.

Earlier this year, the Alliance Defense Fund filed suit against Rockdale on behalf of New Generation over the county's zoning laws, which forbid churches from meeting on property smaller than three acres.

"Government officials should not use zoning restrictions to close down religious services of small, start-up churches, so we commend the county for agreeing to a court order that allows this church to meet while the case moves forward," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley in a statement.

"It's unconstitutional and a violation of federal law to target churches with these kinds of zoning restrictions. Small ministries like this one shouldn't be forced underground simply because they can't afford a property of more than three acres."

According to Article III, Section 218 of the County Zoning Code, a "place of worship shall be located on a minimum of three acres dedicated solely for the place of worship or on its own recorded lot of at least three acres in size and shall be located on a collector or arterial street with a minimum of 100 feet of frontage."

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Tonya Parker, director of Community Affairs & Innovative Programs for Rockdale County, told The Christian Post that Rockdale declines to comment on pending litigation.

Back in June, the Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against Rockdale County over denying New Generation access to several small properties that it wished to use for worship. Similar restrictions do not exist for secular enterprises.

"Not only is it irresponsible to target small ministries dedicated to serving the community, it's unconstitutional and violates federal law," said Stanley.

The suit and the injunction were brought before United States District Chief Judge Julie E. Carnes of the Northern District of Georgia.

Neither the Alliance Defense Fund nor the New Generation Christian Church returned a request for comment by press time.

 

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