ADF to 6th Circuit: Ohio city’s zoning code should not punish Christian school

ADF attorney available to media following oral arguments Wednesday
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Attorney sound bite:  Erik Stanley

WHO: ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley
WHAT: Available for media interviews following oral arguments in Tree of Life Christian Schools v. City of Upper Arlington
WHEN: Wednesday, April 29, immediately following hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. EDT
WHERE: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, 540 Potter Stewart Courthouse, 100 E. Fifth St., Cincinnati

CINCINNATI – Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley will be available for media interviews immediately following his oral argument Wednesday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit on behalf of an Ohio Christian school denied zoning approval to use its own new building.

In May, 2014, ADF filed an appeal in Tree of Life Christian Schools v. City of Upper Arlington after a federal judge ruled in favor of the city.

“Federal law specifically prohibits zoning officials from subjecting religious organizations to a different set of rules than non-religious organizations,” said Stanley. “This type of discriminatory treatment is unacceptable and a violation of federal law. We hope the 6th Circuit will reverse the district court’s decision and rule in favor of the school so that these Christian students will not be forced to use inferior and overcrowded facilities.”

ADF filed the initial lawsuit against Upper Arlington in January 2011 when city officials refused to allow Tree of Life Christian Schools to apply for zoning approval after it purchased the former America Online/Time-Warner building. The lawsuit challenges a zoning regulation that prohibits schools within the zone but permits daycare facilities and other similar uses.

If approved, the building would allow the school to double in size and to consolidate its inferior and overcrowded campuses holding approximately 660 students in the Columbus area. The school would also provide more than 150 new jobs to the city, as well as tax revenue greater than what has been realized from the vacant site in many years.

Under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, government officials are barred from subjecting religious ministries to unequal treatment in zoning laws.
 
  • Fact sheet: Tree of Life Christian Schools v. City of Upper Arlington

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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