December 1, 2009

I want to report an important victory in North Carolina where we've succeeded in clearing the way for Teen Challenge to operate a faith-based residential facility for women struggling with addiction in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

We represent Albemarle Teen Challenge, a Christian, non-profit organization located in North Carolina, which serves individuals who struggle with life-controlling problems. Last year, Teen Challenge was given the opportunity to expand its ministry following a donor's offer to provide property to allow the organization to open a residence for women struggling with addiction and receiving treatment in Teen Challenge's program. Teen Challenge's numerous attempts to obtain the proper zoning approval to operate the facility were met with significant neighborhood opposition.

Following the city's discriminatory actions in refusing to grant Teen Challenge zoning approval to operate its ministry, or in the alternative a reasonable accommodation, we filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina against the city last March for violations of the Religious Land Use Act (RLUIPA), Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and Fair Housing Act (FHA). See Albemarle Teen Challenge v. City of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Case No. 2:09-cv-10.

I am delighted to report that we have reached a settlement agreement which has been approved by city council — an agreement that clears the way for Albemarle Teen Challenge to operate this critical faith-based facility.

You can read more about the case and the victory here.

The ACLJ remains dedicated to challenging cities and localities that use zoning regulations to discriminate against faith-based facilities that bring hope and help to so many people.