Phoenix Methodist church loses appeal; can no longer offer meals to the needy

Phoenix, USA - The kitchen is closed at a north Phoenix church that fed the homeless.

CrossRoads United Methodist Church lost an appeal of a city ordinance banning charity dining halls in residential neighborhoods.

The hearing officer, retired Arizona Supreme Court Justice Robert Corcoran, ruled Monday that feeding the homeless at a place of worship can be banned by city ordinance. The decision affects all Phoenix churches with underlying residential zoning and is effective immediately.

City officials maintained that CrossRoads violated Phoenix zoning code by feeding the poor and homeless on its property, a use that can only occur in commercial or industrial zones.

The church appealed and maintained it is a church and is not operating as a charity dining hall.

Neighbors were especially upset with the church because they didn't like homeless people hanging around their area near Central and Northern avenues.