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Monday, December 7, 2020

Court Dismisses Church's First Amendment Claims against Village

Our friends at the Law of the Land blog recently reported on a federal district case from Illinois that may be of interest to our readers.

In Word Seed Church v Village of Homewood, IL, 2020 WL 6719030 (ND IL. 11/16/2020), a church had sued the Village of Homewood challenging the Village's zoning ordinance because it allegedly impeded the church's ability to establish a place of worship in the Village because the zoning ordinance required a special use permit to operate in any zoning district within the Village. The Village responded that the church did not have "standing" to sue the Village because its claims were speculative and because the church did not own property within the Village that would be subject to the ordinance. As a result, the church had not suffered any injury or damages because of the zoning ordinance. The district court agreed with the Village and dismissed the case, finding that the church had not shown how the zoning ordinance violated their right to free religious exercise where the alleged harm was not caused by the Village's zoning ordinance. Any damages that may have been suffered by the church were caused by the seller backing out of the sale of the property to the church and not because of the zoning ordinance. 


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