If you thought it couldn’t get any weirder in California, it just did.
A California neighborhood has a sign out, “Churches not welcome,” or so it would seem. Their claim? There are too many places nearby where people can worship.
Residents of Woodlake neighborhood in North Sacramento are currently fighting with the City Zoning Commission to prevent a church from locating in a run-down area.
One resident says there are 18 churches in the area but a quick Google Maps search reveals 13 within several miles but none in the actual Woodlake neighborhood.
“We have an over-concentration of churches right now,” Woodlake resident Jane Macaulay said.
Macaulay, president of Woodlake Neighbors Creating Transparency, is asking city hall to deny a permit for a church to move into a run down area of Del Paso Boulevard, saying wants new business on the block, not another house of worship.
Macaulay knows opposing a permit for a church, may come across as competing with the Grinch.
“I’m so not opposed churches, it’s just again, the over-concentration,” Macaulay said, though she did not elaborate on what the perfect number is.
“Places that we can shop, places that we can eat like all the other neighborhoods have,” Macaulay said.
Del Paso Boulevard has struggled in recent years with business closures with many buildings remaining vacant. Those buildings then become a perfect canvas for graffiti and vandalism.
But there are those who are feeling the love for a new church in the area and all the benefits it would bring.
The president of the Woodlake Neighborhood Association says he supports the use of the building as a church.
“For me, it seems like a good use for that property. It’s not taking away something that could have been used,” Larry Meade said.
Meade points out that this building is at the end of the boulevard in a low-profile location that is probably not suitable for the type of business that Macaulay wants.
“It’s immediately adjacent between a warehouse district and an on-ramp,” Glover-Meade said. “It’s not an ideal property.”
Macaulay will continue to oppose the church though she has no ideas for who would want such a location.
“It just seems to be sort of a Mecca for churches,” she said.
Sacramento City staff, seeing the positive side of a church cleaning up an end of the street and bringing back some stability, is recommending the permit be approved.
The planning commission is set to vote next week.