Tree of Life Christian Schools lost its latest appeal Tuesday, Sept. 18, in an 8-year legal battle against the city of Upper Arlington.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a 2014 ruling that the city did not discriminate against the Christian school system when it refused the system’s request to consolidate its schools into a large office complex it purchased in 2010 at 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd., off West Henderson Road.
The 16-acre property’s zoning prohibits schools, city officials have said.
In court, Tree of Life has argued that the zoning restrictions violate the national Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.
In his opinion, filed Tuesday, Judge Ronald Lee Gilman disagreed, maintaining the ordinance is “no more onerous to Tree of Life than it is to nonreligious entities.”
“It’s been a long time, and it’s nice to see this finality at the Sixth Circuit,” Upper Arlington city attorney Jeanine Hummer said. “We appreciate the court’s decision because we have always indicated that area of the city is zoned for office purposes.”
The school has 14 days to ask for a re-hearing and 90 days to request its case be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, Hummer said.
Todd Marrah, its superintendent, could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.