Evangelical Church Sues Castle Hills, TX for Denying SUP for Sunday School Space
Wayside Chapel Evangelical Free Church is suing Castle Hills, Texas for denying its application for a special use permit for property located at 113 Ivywood Circle. The Church claims that the extra space is needed to accommodate its religious exercise, particularly for Sunday School classroom programs. Reportedly, the property that was the subject of the zoning application is surrounded by other Church-owned property, where the Church already has a house of worship for 3,000 members, a distribution center for a Meals on Wheels program, administrative offices, and a building to house missionaries, among other things.
According to the lawsuit, the Church’s existing space is not sufficient for its congregation, spurring the need for the 113 Ivywood Circle property. The lawsuit contends that the City Council denied the application despite the recommendation of the City’s attorney that the application be approved under RLUIPA, given that the Church already operates on surrounding properties. The Church is suing under RLUIPA, the U.S. Constitution, and state law. This is not the first time that Castle Hills has been sued for religious discrimination (read an earlier decision here). Local coverage is available here.