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Zoned Out

Why churches end up on the outskirts of town—and what you can do about it.

Most municipalities in the United States have enacted zoning laws. The purpose of a municipal zoning law is to regulate the growth and development of the city in an orderly manner.

Among the objectives to be served is to avoid mixing together of industrial, commercial, business and residential uses; the prevention of undue concentrations of people in certain areas under undesirable conditions; making provisions for safe and efficient transportation; for recreational needs; and for the enhancement of aesthetic values, all in order to best serve the purpose of promoting the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants. (Naylor v. Salt Lake City Corporation, 410 P.2d 764, 765 (Utah 1966)

Historically, churches presented few problems for municipal planners. Churches were allowed in residential districts so that they would be within walking distance of parishioners' ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • November 2, 2009

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