Pagan Church Zoning Issue Debated

BEEBE, AR -- A high priest wants to use a building -- behind his home in Beebe -- as a Pagan church, but the mayor says zoning laws won't allow it.

People packed into council chambers to hear city leaders talk about the issue during Monday night's meeting.

City officials say High Priest Bert Dahl can't live on the same property he plans to worship at since it's zoned as residential.

So it's either his home or his can't be both.

The mayor says this has nothing to do with religion, but Dahl disagrees.

Mayor Mike Robertson said, "There have been allegations of this being a civil rights issue, this is no more than a zoning issue."

But Dahl said, "Basically this is a great big shelving and this is the latest move to keep us busy and put out more money, time and effort."

Dahl says the options the city gave him -- to turn his residential property into a church -- are too strict and expensive, so he's still exploring other possibilities.

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