Tax revenue reason to keep church at bay?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Becky Yeh - California correspondent (

A legal group is outraged that one township has denied a church usage of a building that had previously been used for the same purpose.

Zoning ordinances were cited when the Township of Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, told the First Korean Church of New York it could not use the 33.8-acre property it purchased in a sheriff's sale for a church and a seminary. Police monitored the location, and officials threatened to fine the church $500 each day, claiming its use of the property was illegal.

Dacus, Brad (PJI)But Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), tells OneNewsNow that another organization previously used the same location as a seminary campus, "which only makes this outrageous denial of this Korean church's usage of this same building for seminary purpose and small church services all the more in violation of the rights of these citizens."

According to the Township of Cheltenham, the property is zoned for residential use. Its lawsuit against the seminary claims that if the location were developed for residential use, it would produce "a significant amount of tax revenue" -- an argument one court has deemed reasonable.

PJI has intervened in the case and filed a friend-of-the-court brief.

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