This week the DuPage County Board is expected to vote on new rules about where places of worship can locate. The changes would allow houses of worship into all zoning districts by right, unlike before. However, they would have to follow new requirements for larger lot sizes, access to major arterial roads, use of public water and sewer lines and they would be limited as to how much of the land could be covered by building. They also would no longer be allowed to purchase and use single-family homes as worship spaces.
These rules are milder than what the county considered last year: an outright ban on places of assembly in unincorporated residential neighborhoods. But Amy Lawless of DuPage United said it's still not perfect. "It will prevent many, many congregations from even considering to build," said Lawless, "because it will be so costly in order to meet all of these restrictions."
Lawless says the new rules would particularly hurt DuPage County's fast-growing Muslim population, which has lately submitted more applications for new worship spaces than any other faith group.
The County Board is expected to consider the changes on Tuesday.