Selma City Council Faces Federal Lawsuit

Selma, AL – Selma City Council members are facing a federal lawsuit filed by a church that wants to tear down a century-old building to make way for a parking lot. The First Baptist Church in Selma's downtown historic district wants to tear down the old Y-M-C-A building, which it bought in 1996. The church has already razed an adjacent building. The Selma Historic Development Commission voted in May to deny the church's request. A city ordinance restricts construction and demolition of buildings in the historic district. But the church claims federal law prohibits the government from regulating property in a way that imposes a substantial burden on religious exercise. The City Council met behind closed doors Monday night to discuss the suit.