By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
HOLLY SPRINGS – A federal judge has denied a church’s request to order the city of Holly Springs to allow a church to relocate to a storefront space on the Holly Springs Square.
Opulent Life Church had asked for a preliminary injunction that would keep the city from enforcing part of its zoning ordinance. The church and its supporters, including the Texas-based Liberty Institute, hold that several restrictions in the law are unconstitutional because they are unequally applied to churches.
Chief Judge Michael Mills denied the preliminary injunction after finding that the church did not make a clear showing that “there is a substantial threat of irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted.”
Had the church shown irreparable harm, it also would have had to show that it would likely prevail in the case overall, that the potential injury outweighed any harm from such an injunction and that the injunction would not undermine public interest.
Reed Martz, an Oxford attorney representing the church and its pastor, Telsa DeBerry, said the church intends to appeal the decision but noted that the denial reflected neither the final outcome of the lawsuit nor vindication of the disputed zoning ordinance.
“We believe the church is being irreparably harmed by the inadequacy of its present facility to accommodate both its weekly congregants as well as its additional community-oriented activities,” Martz said. “The church looks forward to having its own space, with larger facilities, to meet the needs of its worshipers and its growing membership.”