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    12 Jun 2016

    City of Mobile suing local family for maintaining Buddhist center in their home

    According to court documents, the City of Mobile has filed a lawsuit against a local family for maintaining a Buddhist meditation center in their home.
    Sivaporn Nimityongskul, Serena Nimityongskul, Varin Nimityongskul, and Prasit Nimityongskul are listed as defendants in the lawsuit.
    In the document, the City details two attempts by Varin Nimityongskul to apply for the planning approval of the a meditation center in the family's home on Eloong Drive.
    The original proposition in September 2015, according to the document, was for two 2,000 square-foot cottages with four bedrooms each, a 600 square foot restroom facility, a 2,400 square foot meditation center, and associated parking. The application was denied December 2015.
    Nimityongskul appealed the denial in December. The appeal was then denied by the City Council in January 2016, citing the City Zoning Ordinance, which says that the zone is designated for single-family residences only.
    In the case, the City has presented exhibits that suggest the meditation center continued to operate, despite recent denials.
    Written materials presented in the case advertise retreats on March 5 and March 25.
    A weekend "3 Day Mindfulness Meditation Retreat" was planned for the home this Friday through Sunday, but will now be held at Meditation Center of Alabama, amid the recent legal action.
    The City's complaint reads:
    "All of these retreats and classes are illegal activities under the City's Zoning Ordinance, as the Property is zoned for, and can only be used as, a single family residence. Ms. Nimit is aware of the purposes for which the Property is zoned but continues to knowingly use the Property to illegally operate the Meditation Center. Further, she is allowing guests to spend the night on the property for a financial contribution, which also violates the City's zoning ordinance and fire and safety codes."

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