Tyler & Bursch, LLP / Advocates for Faith & Freedom
May 16, 2019 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Desaré Ferraro at 951-600-2733
CITY OF SAN DIEGO SETTLES WITH VISION CHURCH
San Diego Pot Production Company’s Attempt to Remove Church Unsuccessful
SAN DIEGO, CA –- On May 15, 2019, Vision Church and the City of San Diego signed a settlement agreement proposed by Tyler & Bursch, LLP on behalf of the church.
The settlement would finally resolve the over one year battle with Cannversions, Inc., the marijuana production company that worked to vacate the church building because of a City ordinance restricting them from operating near a church.
In January, 2018, when the state of California voted in favor of marijuana legalization, marijuana production companies like Cannnversions, Inc., pushed to open their businesses in commercial building spaces. Some were met with local municipality restrictions. In the city of San Diego, marijuana companies are not permitted to operate within 1,000 feet of “sensitive land,” meaning schools, parks, and churches. So, when Cannversions attempted to occupy a unit near Vision Church, located in the Otay Mesa community of San Diego, the city turned them down. But Cannversions did not give up.
Since the initial decline of Cannversions’ Conditional Use Permit (CUP), complaints made to the city by the cannabis company subjected the small church to a myriad of fines and construction orders due to accusations that their building sits in a flood zone. The City also demanded that Vision Church stop using the property for religious purposes.
That’s when Pastor Andy Ballon contacted attorney Nada Higuera with Tyler & Bursch, LLP, whose non-profit law firm, Advocates for Faith & Freedom, represents Church United and their California pastors and churches in religious liberty cases, pro bono.
Upon further investigation, Tyler & Bursch attorneys found that all of the church's building documentation confirmed their compliance with all flood zone regulations. Regardless, the ultimatums presented by the city persisted over a year.
On May 15, 2019, Vision Church and the City of San Diego agreed on a settlement that will appease both parties. The terms of the settlement agreement are as follows:
The City agrees the Church is NOT in violation of San Diego Municipal Code section 141.0602, which prohibits churches from a flood zone.
The Church is NOT subject to any administrative costs or civil penalties which were threatened previously in a letter from the city.
San Diego City Council will update the City’s Land Development Code so that the flood zone restriction will be equally applicable to non-religious assemblies. (We sued because the flood zone restriction was discriminatory since it only prevented religious assemblies and not private lodges, fraternal organizations, funeral homes and mortuaries, etc.)
The City will pay the costs of filing the lawsuit.
Pastor Andy Ballon and Vision Church are happy with the outcome, given that it means they will be permitted to stay in the building and continue to serve the community they’ve called home for nearly a decade.
Attorney Nada Higuera is available for additional comments and interviews. Please contact Desaré Ferraro at 951-600-2733 or call or text 714-348-0808.
About Tyler & Bursch, LLP and Advocates for Faith & Freedom: With offices in Murrieta and Anaheim, Tyler & Bursch’s lawyers and advisors have been serving businesses and individuals throughout Southern California for 20 years. In addition to their defense of Constitutional and Religious Liberties, their areas of practice include Corporate and Business, Labor and Employment, Real Estate and Land Use, Estate Planning and Asset Protection, Family Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Civil Litigation.