Good Samaritan Banned: Ohio Town’s Zoning Code Takes an Unusual Stand

Latest Housing News Across the Country

The latest housing news across the country has a more California-centric focus this week. A judge in Los Angeles has put a stop to any building permits in Beverly Hills until the city complies with state housing law. California Forever has also released a ballot initiative to build a new city in rural Solano County. Meanwhile, neighborhood activists in Alexandria, Virginia, are suing to overturn the city’s recently passed zoning reforms.

An Ohio pastor has also been criminally charged with zoning violations for sheltering the homeless in his church. Since March 2023, Chris Avell’s church, Dad’s Place, has been providing shelter and food to anyone in need. The city of Bryan, however, considers these activities to be illegal residential use of a commercially zoned property. Avell has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The case has sparked a debate over the definition of church activities and the enforcement of zoning codes. The pastor’s attorney argues that the city is unfairly targeting the church and giving shifting demands for compliance. Meanwhile, city officials argue that the church is in violation of zoning codes and fire safety regulations.

In a separate case, a judge has ruled that Beverly Hills cannot issue non-housing building permits until it complies with state housing law. This decision comes in response to a lawsuit filed by a non-profit group against the city for adopting a housing production plan that allegedly does not meet state requirements. Pro-development activists have welcomed the ruling, while critics argue that it unfairly punishes property owners.

Lastly, California Forever has proposed a ballot initiative to build a new city in rural Solano County. The initiative would require the company to abide by a number of community benefits agreements, including investing in scholarships, affordable housing, and parks. The plan has sparked controversy and legal battles between the company and existing landowners.

Overall, these housing news stories reflect ongoing debates and legal battles over zoning laws, housing production, and property rights across the country.