Sandy Springs prevails on part of Scientology lawsuit (updated)
The city of Sandy Springs reported on Oct. 5 that it has prevailed in a lawsuit filed against it by the Church of Scientology over a zoning matter.
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled in favor of the city on Sept. 30, saying the city objectively enforced its parking ordinance. The court still must decide whether the city violated the church’s free exercise rights.
The Church of Scientology filed an application to convert a 32,053 square foot office building into an estimated 44,000 square foot church, the city reported. The City Council approved the use of the property for a church, but limited the size of the building to the existing space citing a lack of sufficient parking. The Church of Scientology sued the city for religious discrimination in federal court in January.
More than 600 residents opposed the zoning application, according to newspaper archives.
“We are pleased that the judge recognized that the city’s staff acted in accordance to city ordinance procedures, and chose to dismiss that claim against the city,” Sandy Springs City Attorney Wendell Willard said in a press release.
City Spokeswoman Sharon Kraun said the city insurance carrier picked up the cost of defending the lawsuit.
Attempts to reach Church of Scientology officials on Oct. 5 for comment were unsuccessful.