Florida Congregation Wins Right to Build Church after Lawsuit

Reported by Liku Zelleke

A congregation in Florida managed to win rights to build their new church in a Jacksonville neighborhood despite the objections that were raised by residents and the city.

Now, Church of Our Savior – an Anglican Church in North America affiliate – will be able to go ahead and build their church because of a settlement that was reached this week with the city’s officials.

Senior pastor at the church, Rev. David Ball said that his congregation was thankful the whole affair was finally over.

“It was very frustrating not being allowed to build a church for the glory of God on land that we believed God had called us to build,” said Ball. “We believed the law was clearly on our side and, thanks be to God, that a federal judge agreed with us, and now after settlement on appeal the issue is behind us.”

He also added that his church was planning to construct a “Carpenter Gothic Chapel” on the property and that it would accommodate 165 people.

In 2013, the congregation applied for a permit to build their church on Adventure Landing, off of Beach Blvd. and Hopson Rd. But then, many of the neighborhood’s residents objected to the construction and the City of Jacksonville Beach Planning Commission turned down their application.

Then in 2014, they decided to fight back and filed a lawsuit against the city and it was brought before the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida.

According to court documents, following an appeal, the city and the church were ordered to “mediation by the appellate court and in this process ultimately negotiated the proposed attached settlement agreement and access license agreement.”

The documents also showed that the final negotiated settlements cut the amount the city would have to pay from $305,147 to $290,000 and “it provides full closure of the pending appeal. Funds for the settlement will come from the General Liability Insurance Fund.”