DuPage Moves Away from Religious Buildings Ban
Byline: Robert Sanchez firstname.lastname@example.org
Religious groupssoon won't have to worry about being prohibited from opening facilities in DuPage County's unincorporated residential neighborhoods.
DuPage officials on Thursday night are planning to ask the county's zoning board of appeals to table that controversial idea so another plan could be drafted to address parking, traffic and building size issues related to places of assembly.
The county board development committee directed county staff to make the request after a lengthy discussion Tuesday about proposed zoning law amendments that would apply to future churches, mosques and other places of assembly.
Committee members said new places of assembly should be allowed in residential areas as long as certain requirements are met.
Still, county board member Grant Eckhoff said officials want to balance the rights of property owners and their neighbors.
"Right now, our zoning code doesn't do an adequate job of protecting neighbors," Eckhoff said. "So what we're trying to do ... is preserve the residential character of our neighborhoods but recognize the fact that religious institutions are part of that residential character."
Eckhoff said he wants a set of zoning changes that would prevent the construction of "huge" structures that overshadow a neighborhood. None of the text amendments would apply to projects already being considered by the county, including several proposed mosques.
One of the suggestions, which deals with parking, could be reviewed Thursday by the zoning board of appeals. …