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Church parking lawsuit in court today

April 22, 2002

A church-state separation suit against the city of Newport Beach will

move forward today when attorneys hold a status conference on the case.

The conference, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. today in District Court, will

be the next step toward resolving a lawsuit by Newport Beach resident

John W. Nelson.

Nelson's suit in January alleges that the city's practice of not

enforcing parking meters near churches on Sunday morning amounts to

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public subsidy for religion, a violation of the Constitution's

Establishment Clause.

City officials stand by their ordinance, passed in the 1970s, that

provides special parking-meter enforcement times near four houses of

worship, the only ones in the city adjacent to metered spots.

All on Balboa Peninsula, they are Christ Church by the Sea, 1400 W.

Balboa Blvd.; Christian Science Church and Reading Room at 3303 Via Lido;

St. James Episcopal Church of Newport Beach, 3209 Via Lido; and Our Lady

of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, 1441 W. Balboa Blvd.

The conference will be in United States Court's Central District in

Santa Ana, in the courtroom of Judge David Carter, Courtroom 9-D.

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