Judge lets city manipulate zoning to block Christian school

A federal judge has let an Ohio city manipulate its zoning enforcement to prevent a large Christian school from occupying an office building in its commercial district that had been abandoned by the previous owners when it was purchased.

In a lawsuit brought by the Tree of Life Christian school against the city of Upper Arlington, the city is demanding that the building obtained by the school to consolidate its multiple campuses and house additional students – up to an expected 1,300 – be used by commercial interests to generate more tax revenue.

The school sued under the equal-rights federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, pointing out that the city already allowed daycare centers in its business district, a function similar to that of a school.

The city then, with the approval of U.S. District Judge George C. Smith, banished the daycare centers so that the Christian school could



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