Praise Christian Center v. City of Huntington Beach
Praise Christian Center and Pastor Derek Annunciation applied for a conditional use permit (CUP) in the City of Huntington Beach. The City eventually granted the CUP, but with many restrictive conditions that resulted in the Church’s inability to use the building. Additionally, the conditions applied were excessive, arbitrary, and disproportionate to conditions enforced on other businesses. The district court ruled that the City’s sign ordinance was unconstitutional but ruled against the Church as to its use of the building. We have appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the basis that the district court erred in reviewing the evidence.
Following our opening brief to the Ninth Circuit, the City filed a motion to dismiss, which the court denied, and we proceeded with the final briefing. Oral arguments were heard in February, 2008 and the Ninth Circuit ruled the case could not continue because the Church was no longer able to use that location. Advocates filed a brief asking the Court to reconsider, and the Court issued a subsequent ruling reversing its earlier decision but stating that Praise was not treated on unequal terms.
Advocates has again asked the Ninth Circuit to reconsider this ruling and recognize that the Church was not treated on equal terms with secular institutions.