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City Walk Urban Mission sues Wakulla County over new zoning restrictions that shut them down

Lawsuit filed in federal court
Posted at 6:19 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 18:48:53-04

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Wakulla County has been hit with a lawsuit from the City Walk Urban Mission.

The lawsuit stems from rezoning changes that have majorly impacted the mission.

Since 2013, City Walk Urban Mission has operated their transition home ministry in Wakulla County. Due to recent zoning restrictions, they are no longer allowed to be there.

Now, the organization is fighting back.

The lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday is to allow City Walk to continue their ministry, which is open to registered sex offenders.

Attorneys say the housing of sex offenders is a right by law but, for some in the area, it's raising concerns.

"Because they are even open to registered sex offenders they've drawn the ire of some in the community, and unfortunately that's put City Walk in the position where they are faced with being shut down by the county through zoning enforcement," said Noel Sterett, and attorney with Dalton & Tomich, the law firm representing City Walk Urban Mission.

According to the citations the landlord received from the county, they are in violation of Section 5 of the Land Development Code.

Under that code, three or more people who are unrelated cannot live in the same home.

Sterett says the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act protects City Walk from this type of issue. He says there are other transition homes in Wakulla County.

City Walk just wants to be treated equally.

We reached out to Wakulla County for their side of the story but the county declined an opportunity to comment.