Church Banned from Worshiping in Coffee Shop They Own Sues Maryland City

ICC Note: Redemption Community Church is suing the city of Laurel, MD regarding a zoning law which prevents them from holding worship in a coffee shop owned by their church. In order to hold worship, the law requires that the church submit a costly waiver and an application that the city may reject. The religious liberty law firm Alliance Defending Freedom will be representing the church as they have called the city’s zoning regulation “discriminatory.”

02/14/2018 United States (Christian News Network) – A church is suing a Maryland city over a zoning regulation that bans them from holding worship services at a downtown coffee shop they own unless they apply for a special waiver the church believes is too expensive and uncertain.

Redemption Community Church, which oversees a non-profit coffee shop called Ragamuffins Coffee House, is suing the city of Laurel over a zoning law that requires it to undergo what it calls a “costly” and “uncertain” special exception, even while non-religious assemblies do not have to, according to the lawsuit.

The parameters of the exception include a nonrefundable $2,000 filing fee, the hiring of an engineer to draft an “Existing Conditions Site Plan” and a “Proposed Site Plan,” and a detailed application that the City Board of Appeals can reject.

Known as Redemption Community Church v. City of Laurel, the lawsuit was filed last Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

Redemption Community is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative law firm that often handles religious liberty litigation.

ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb said in a statement released last Friday that the city of Laurel’s zoning regulation was “discriminatory.”

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