Tree of Life Christian Schools will continue its legal fight to operate a school in Upper Arlington’s largest office building.

Judge George Smith of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled Oct. 13 against Tree of Life in its more than seven-year quest to open a school at 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd.

In doing so, Smith ruled the church failed to show that comparable, nonreligious organizations have been treated more fairly by the city and zoning laws applied to the Office and Research District that govern the 15.8-acre property and office that Tree of Life purchased in August 2010.

Smith also found “there is no dispute that the city of Upper Arlington made clear to plaintiff long before the purchase of the property that schools were not a permitted or conditional use in the ORC Office and Research District.

Further, he ruled Tree of Life’s proposed use of the property “is not consistent with the regulatory purpose of the ORC Office and Research District – to maximize income, whereas permitted uses such as banks, hotels/motels and hospitals do serve that purpose.”

Following the ruling, Tree of Life notified the U.S. District Court Nov. 8 that it will appeal Smith’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

For more on this story, see the Nov. 16 edition of ThisWeek Upper Arlington News.