Pastor Gary Mortara said he will sit down with city officials soon to discuss a new location for his Faith Fellowship megachurch now that a five-year old lawsuit with the city has been settled.
On Monday city officials said they would pay the church $2.3 million to settle a lawsuit filed in 2007 after Mortara tried to move his fast-growing congregation from Washington Manor to an industrial area.
The city refused to allow the move saying it conflicted with zoning that set the land aside for manufacturing uses.
The settlement ends a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court and tested the power of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.
RLUIPA (pronounced ree-loopa) gave churches the benefit of the doubt in zoning disputes with local authorities.
The church-city feud had drawn national attention.
Last year the Wall Street Journal said San Leandro could be on the hook for $4 million in damages and attorney's fees. Other estimates put the city's potential liability as high as $20 million.
On Tuesday Mortara pronounced the $2.3 million settlement fair.
"It was a reasonable enough offer for us to accept it and put this silliness to an end," he said.
At the same time he felt the church's position had been vindicated.
"We didn't have to come to the table with a checkbook in our hand, they came with a checkbook in their hand because they were wrong," he said.
Now that the case is settled, Mortara still faces the task of finding a new location for the church, which now has 2,000 members.
He said the church has a couple of locations in mind that conform with the city's zoning code. Its leaders would start meeting with city officials soon to start reviewing the possibilities, he said.