Bay Area Residents Say No to Religious Development

Call it megachurch fatigue: A proposed Sufism Reoriented sanctuary is just one of an increasing number of religious developments facing no shortage of community backlash in northern California.

"In 2009, an effort to expand a Sikh temple in El Sobrante by 77,000 square feet was halted after residents objected to the size and scope of the new project. In San Leandro that year, congregants of International Church of the Foursquare Gospel filed a lawsuit over efforts by the city and local leaders to stop the group from moving into a new neighborhood with a 10,000-square-foot building.

Walter Kieser, managing principal at EPS LLC, an urban economics and planning consultancy in Berkeley, says Bay Area communities are increasingly pushing back against construction projects affiliated with religious groups because many of the projects have grown in size in the era of megachurches. Meanwhile, residents often hope to limit sprawl or want to preserve the pastoral nature of their neighborhoods, he says."

Full Story: Sanctuary Plans Pique Residents


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