Wednesday, February 09, 2011

City Targets Growing Church, Halts Construction

The City of Medina, Minnesota is trying to stop a 1,000-plus-member church from moving ahead with its building expansion plans—on its own property.

Meanwhile, the church pursues alternate plans in nearby town.

-- From "Woodridge Church opening in Delano" by Starrla Cray, Staff Writer, Harold Journal (Delano, MN) 3/8/10

Woodridge Church in Medina is branching out to the Delano community, with a new church opening soon in the Delano Elementary School building.

On a typical Sunday, more than 1,000 people gather for worship at Woodridge in Medina.

In order to accommodate increasing numbers, Woodridge began planning a future expansion. The City of Medina, however, didn’t approve the church’s plans at its site at 1500 Hennepin County Road 24.

About 100 members of Woodridge in Medina are from the Delano area, [Adult Ministry Pastor Greg] Seeger said.

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From "Minnesota City Halts Church Expansion Plans" by Jennifer LeClaire, Charisma Media, 2/4/11

Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorneys filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Woodridge Church against the city of Medina for allegedly manufacturing a new zoning ordinance to prevent the church from building a new 42,000-square foot facility.

Shortly after Woodridge Church submitted its application for the expansion, city officials placed a moratorium on church construction citywide for one year. During that time, the city created a new zoning district. The new district prohibits construction of any building over 40,000 square feet. The church’s planned expansion is 42,000 square feet.

Woodridge Church owns nearly 28 acres of property and has recently expanded to more than 1,000 members. To accommodate its various growing ministries, the church began working with city officials in April 2008 to develop plans in compliance with the city code before submitting its building application.

ADF attorneys contend that the city’s restrictive zoning ordinance is in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution, the Minnesota Constitution, and federal law--specifically, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which prevents zoning officials from singling out churches for discriminatory treatment.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.