Headline and Article from the NY Times.
By Robert Johnson Published: April 3, 2005
Site requires registration: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/re...te/03nati.html
"After fleeing city congestion, pollution and blight, both the churches and the homeowners are clamoring for their rights in yet another Promised Land. In most instances, the opposing homeowners got there first.
"People in small towns don't like change," Mr. McMahon said. "They get so used to fighting against commercial and industrial development that a new church is just another big building with a parking lot to them."
...where churches or synagogues are supposed to go. "Congregations are being told they aren't wanted in residential areas because of the noise and traffic," he said. "But they aren't welcome in commercial areas because they don't generate tax revenue, or in rural areas because they might have an impact on the environment. That doesn't leave many locations."
...congregation would have plenty of ammunition, including the First Amendment and the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, which prohibits regulations that impose a "substantial burden" on churches.
Yet officials of expanding churches are wary of achieving their rights at the cost of lingering community bitterness. "This kind of thing is emotionally difficult for both sides," said Bill Egner, executive pastor of Christ Chapel Bible Church in Fort Worth, Tex. "After it's over, you still have to live there." "