(Holly Springs, MS) It’s an empty, dusty storefront in the town square that’s created a legal battle between the city of Holly Springs, MS and Opulent Church.
This week a federal judge ruled the upheld a ruling saying, the church can’t move into the square, at least for now.
“It’s not a win for the church or a loss for the city,” said Mayor Andre DeBerry.
The church wants to relocate to the town square from where it is now on Highway 7, but the city mandates churches go through a set of standards before they move or re-build, for parking and noise purposes.
The church never followed the guidelines.
A public hearing is also needed so neighboring businesses can weigh in if they want the church around.
Certain businesses aren’t allowed within 100 feet of a church.
If the church moved into an empty storefront, restaurants and liquor stores wouldn’t be allowed to move into the town square.
In January, the church, with the help of a Texas organization filed a lawsuit against the city, saying it’s discriminating against the church.
Mayor Andre DeBerry says, the church must follow the same law as everyone else, “The church has never been denied by the planning commission from producing a church.”
The church or the out-of-state group who helped file a lawsuit did not return our calls.
But says on in its website, religious freedom is an inalienable right and the government doesn’t control it.
DeBerry stands firm saying the city of Holly Springs has no problem with churches, “There’s a church right next to the City Hall and several churches off the square.”