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Conditional use permits for mega-churches in commercial districts

Messages
16
Points
1
Should churches be by right or as CUP's in commercial areas? CUP's are costly and time-consuming, when often there is no opposition to the church. On the other hand, a mega-church can result in an "empty spot" of little activity and lots of parking within an otherwise active commercial district. Opinions?
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
30
What is a church, and how does it perform? It is a place of public assembly. How does your code treat other such uses? Consider a place of worship as you would a theater, sports arena, and the like.

Of course, my planning board and I have been threatened with eternal damnation for such thoughts.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
OK, I have not been in a church for a while, but I understand they are not just for Sunday mornings anymore. Nearly all host social functions. Many have schools, special services, bingo and other activities. What about food pantries, homeless shelters, etc. Most of these things don't really conflict with most commercial districts, but I guess I would want to review them a little more closely before permitting the use by right.
 
Messages
11
Points
1
You all might want to keep your eyes on the fallout from the 'Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000' recently signed by the President.

It says that no local government shall impose a land use regulation in a way that imposes a substantial burden on a religious assembly or institution. This includes things like use permits. The "equal terms" provision states that "No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that treats a religious assembly or institution on less than equal terms with a nonreligious assembly or institution."

Could be interesting to watch...
 
Messages
1
Points
0
An interesting twist- I once explained the impact of spreading urban mortmain to a History professor and Baptist deacon. A couple of years ago, I heard that he had persuaded his church to donate a sum equivalent to lost taxes to the city (Auburn , Ala.- don't know how figure was derived). One must also consider the impact of church operated businesses like bookstores and fitness centers that compete directly with tax-paying businesses.
 

Sue Enger

Member
Messages
2
Points
0
Is anyone aware of studies or articles that document or discuss the “spin-off” economic impacts to a community from a mega-church? (Or that examine other of impacts, for that matter). These churches could conceivably employ residents from the area and attract people to the area that patronize local businesses. Some of these churches even get involved in economic development activities. On the other hand, a mega church could potentially displace other uses that may have greater economic benefits (and tax dollars)for the community. Does anyone know of studies that document such impacts?
 
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