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|City Tries to Shut Down Church for Homeless|
|News Releases - Not-for-Profit News|
|Written by Pacific Justice Institute|
|Monday, 07 January 2013 12:10|
Placerville, CA – The Placerville City Council will hear an appeal, Tuesday, from a small church regarding the denial of their conditional use permit (CUP) by the City's Planning Commission. Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) sent a letter Friday informing the City of the potential legal violations the commission committed—including violation of the Federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), as well as the Federal and State Constitution.
In a December 4th decision, the Planning Commission denied the CUP of Mercy Way Rescue, a small church which ministers to the homeless in the mountain community. In a 2-2 vote—which is an automatic denial—the Planning Commission went against its own Planning Department's staff report recommendation to approve the CUP, and placed the church in jeopardy of immediate shutdown.
At one point during the Commission's December meeting, after praise of the prior two applicants—a car dealership and a hospital—a commissioner accused Mercy Way Rescue of masquerading as a church. The Commission further questioned the church representative about what type of congregants they would have.
“It's not just illegal to base a planning decision on the members of a church, it's an outrage! There should be a public outcry anytime a planning commission considers demographics in their decision for a church to be established,” said Brad Dacus, President of PJI.
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