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Henderson Church Wins Battle With City Council Over Zoning Issue

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HENDERSON, N.C. — A Henderson church with growing pains has won a round with City Hall that breaks a zoning issue that prohibits churches in shopping centers.

The Rev. C.J. Dale and some of his closest associates won a battle with City Council to turn a vacant A&P building in a shopping center into the future home of the Burning Bush Christian Church.

"I do appreciate the City Council, all of them. I believe from the beginning, they have been very supportive," Dale said.

While filling an empty building seems like common sense, opponents said the issue is dollars and cents. Commercial real estate interests said the city of Henderson should not allow churches in shopping centers because churches occupy too many parking spaces for a long time without producing business.

The decision to give Dale's church a break may not be an investment in economy, but it is an investment in the future. With the new space, Dale wants to start what will be Henderson's first free after-school program.

"To be able to do something positive and also get some enhancements with modern technology with computers and other resources," Dale said.

Henderson City Councilwoman Jeanne Hight thinks the partnership will send a positive message.

"I think the only noise that probably some of the neighbors will hear is amen and halleujah," Hight said. "To me, that is not a bad thing."

Dale hopes to start work on a new sanctuary by spring.


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