San Diego, CA-The San Diego County Counsel and its Chief Administrative Officer have issued an apology and rescinded the citation issued to the Jones family stemming from the weekly Bible study held in their home. In a letter to the Joneses’ attorneys at the National Center for Law & Policy, the County’s attorney stated that the Joneses’ Bible study “is within the scope of the residential use” and the County therefore “rescinds the Administrative Warning/Cease and Desist Order.” The County also stated that a major use permit is not required for meetings such as the Joneses’ Bible study.
In addition to the letter from County Counsel, County Chief Administrative Officer Walter Ekard issued a formal apology to Pastor Jones, his wife, and his congregation. Mr. Ekard also committed to take several corrective measures as a result of this case. Specifically, Ekard stated that he has directed the County Department of Planning and Land Use and County Counsel to “conduct a thorough review of ordinances regarding all assemblies to clarify meetings such as [the Joneses’] may continue without regulation by the County.” Mr. Ekard also promised that the DPLU would immediately develop measures to improve internal code enforcement procedures and provide updated training for all code enforcement officers.
“We are very encouraged by the County’s response and their commitment to immediate corrective action,” stated Dean Broyles, President and Chief Counsel for the National Center for Law & Policy. “We look forward to working with the County to ensure that the clarification of its ordinances and training of its personnel are implemented promptly and efficiently so that all citizens of San Diego can be assured that their constitutional rights are protected. We are confident that, as a result of the County’s statements, Bible studies and prayer meetings held in homes throughout San Diego County will be free from government regulation, as is guaranteed by the First Amendment.”
NCLP attorneys are available immediately for additional comment by individual request.
To reach the NCLP, please contact us via our web site at www.nclplaw.org or via telephone at 760-747-4529.