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Church can't host Weight Watchers due to zoning

September 4, 2014
Associated Press

EAST WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — A church is threatening to leave a tiny western Pennsylvania borough because zoning officials say the congregation can no longer host Weight Watchers meetings in its social hall.

The Rev. Stephen Smythers won't say how much the First Christian Church in East Washington earns from hosting the meetings. But he says the 150-member congregation needs the income — especially under a new ordinance forcing the church and other property owners to rebuild their street curbs.

But borough officials say the municipality — which is less than a half-mile square — is zoned only for residences and institutions like the church. As a result, for-profit businesses like Weight Watchers are forbidden.

The church can file for a zoning variance, but the pastor says a borough official told him it likely wouldn't be granted.

 
 

 

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