Ann Arbor Observer cover
Tango Dancers: Sophia & El Kronox
Ann Arbor Weather:
Monday November 20, 2017
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed

Parking Outside Churches?

Question Corner: June 2017

by Tim Athan

From the June, 2017 issue

Q. I see cars parked outside churches on Sundays in areas that are normally no-parking zones. Do churches get special parking exemptions? If so, doesn't giving them special privileges violate the Constitution's Separation Clause?

A. On-street parking is a public asset that city governments can try to use in any way that serves the broader public interest. Churches located in a downtown area often find parking for worshipers a challenge. In the twentieth century, many Ann Arbor churches relocated from downtown to the more open spaces of suburbia.

"Basically the city recognized a need for additional parking and came up with a solution," says AAPD Sgt. Tom Hickey, noting that streets are often quieter on Sundays, making it easier to waive normal restrictions. Though used mainly by church members, the extra parking is open to anyone.

City council adopted the exceptions and could end them if it chose but might need to be wary of possible litigation: a 2000 federal law prohibits governments from putting a "substantial burden" on a person's right to worship. In 2005, the Lighthouse Community Church of God successfully sued the City of Southfield under the law after it was refused a certificate of occupancy because its building had too few parking spaces. In 2012, the Michigan Islamic Academy sued Pittsfield Township over its rejection of a planned school on Ellsworth Rd. Last year, a settlement granted MIA permission to build--and $1.7 million (Inside Ann Arbor, September 2016).    (end of article)

[Originally published in June, 2017.]

 



 
Bookmark and Share
Print Comment E-mail

You might also like:

Jim Harbaugh's Challenge
After sending a record number of players to the NFL, the hyperkinetic coach rebuilds under pressure.
Craig Ross
Make Way for Drones
A new facility drives weather watchers off campus.
Michael Betzold
Be Nice!
From Massachusetts, Sara Hathaway keeps a lid on the Ann Arbor Townies ONLY Facebook page.
Eve Silberman
Macaroons on the March
Now at Le Bon Macaron on Fourth Ave.
Sally Mitani
Nightspots: B-Side
Ann Arborite Joan Blos, December, 1994 by Eve Silberman
Restaurants with prices $20-$30
A clickable zoomable map
The Price of Security
Stopping truck-born terrorists raises event costs.
James Leonard
Mark's Carts Final Season
Closing October 2017
Sabine Bickford
Douglas Trevor 2017
The strange ways of books
Keith Taylor
Regent Hotel
Senior Living Communties 734-677-0071
A visitor's guide to Ann Arbor