The LA Times talks about a town that has plenty of churches and doesn’t want any more. An interesting read, here’s a clip:
STAFFORD, Texas — They are not the words one expects to hear from a politician or a Southerner, and Leonard Scarcella is both: “Our city has an excessive number of churches.” Scarcella is mayor of this Houston-area community, which has 51 churches and other religious institutions packed into its 7 square miles.
With some 300 undeveloped, potentially revenue-producing acres left in Stafford, officials are scrambling to find a legal way to keep more tax-exempt churches from building here.”With federal laws, you can’t just say, ‘We’re not going to have any more churches,’ ” Scarcella said. “We respect the Constitution, but 51 of anything is too much.”
Stafford, population 19,227, is the largest city in Texas without a property tax, and it depends on sales taxes and business fees for revenue. Nonprofits have been attracted by its rapid growth and minimal deed restrictions. “It’s thrown everything out of balance, plus providing zero revenue. Somebody’s got to pay for police, fire and schools,” City Councilman Cecil Willis said.