"In a test of wills, church vs. state, the church wins the first round.The story in the Washington Post does not clarify all that is going on here, but it does seem that the county is treating the food pantry like a business, requiring it to have a site plan and operating permit. The sticking point is the driveway that goes to the food pantry, which is located in a house on the church property. Apparently this driveway opens onto a busy street, and represents a danger. The church has a driveway that opens onto the same busy street. If the county has its way, then the clients of the food pantry and counseling center will drive through the church parking lot, and then follow a dirt road to the house in which the two ministries are located.
Chesapeake Church in Huntingtown, a congregation of about 275 members, has been locked in a heated, three-year battle with Calvert County over zoning violations that has progressed to state and federal courts.
Last week, Circuit Court Judge Marjorie L. Clagett ruled that the church's counseling center and food pantry can stay open pending the federal litigation, marking the first blow to the county's case.
Calvert County's request for a preliminary injunction to shutter the Chesapeake Counseling Center and Chesapeake Cares Food Pantry for failing to obtain the proper permits and site plans since the center opened in 2005 was denied by Clagett because closing the ministry would cause more harm to county residents, the decision said. ..."
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Judge Rejects Attempt to Close Huntingtown Church Pantry, Center - washingtonpost.com: