It's an important victory for a Christian organization that provides a home to abused, neglected, and abandoned children in need.
Our attorneys filed suit on behalf of Kings Ranch in 2010 in the Eastern District of Arkansas against the City of Jonesboro for violation of the Fair Housing Act following a series of allegedly discriminatory actions by the City of Jonesboro over the course of two years to prevent Kings Ranch from establishing a Christian home for abused, neglected, and abandoned children in its 4,900 square foot home on approximately 10 acres in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
In 2008, the City of Jonesboro refused to issue Kings Ranch the proper permit to operate a childrens home following significant opposition expressed by nearby property owners who were concerned that the home would decrease property values.
We stepped in and demanded that the City provide a reasonable accommodation to its zoning laws pursuant to federal law.
The City refused and voted to allow a federal court to rule on the issue, rather than grant Kings Ranch permission to carry on their ministry on the property to provide a home to eight children in need.
Well, the federal court did exactly as we had hoped. In the Courts opinion and order awarding Kings Ranch the declaratory relief it requested, the Court stated the City of Jonesboro presents absolutely no evidence to suggest that Kings Ranchs . . . request is unreasonable.
The Court declared that the City violated the Fair Housing Act when it refused to accommodate Kings Ranchs request and held that Kings Ranchs request was reasonable and necessary to provide children who will live at Kings Ranch an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the home.
The Court ordered the City of Jonesboro to authorize Kings Ranch to house up to eight children.
The Courts decision will finally allow Kings Ranch and its founders, Eddie and Lee Cooper, to carry out the vision they were given several years ago: to change the lives of children by providing a loving and structured home environment that promotes healing and shares the message of Jesus Christ.
We're delighted with this outcome and are anxious to see King's Ranch move forward with its life-changing mission.