Mr. Berryman’s worry about land-use issues around the country is that, rather than residents using zoning as a way to mask religious intolerance, religious groups are using discrimination as a way to force land-use permits.
“What’s happening is people are coming to an area and using religion as a wedge issue, a mechanism to shoehorn themselves into a community,” Mr. Berryman said. “But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some bigots or racists out in the fringe. In a large group, there always are.”
Whether those fringe members will become vocal about the Woodmont property remains to be seen, though once the county’s planning and zoning board send their recommendation to the county council, the zoning amendment is likely to become more of a political issue this summer.
“This opposition group is in no way about religion,” said Glen Moran, president of the citizens’ association. “It’s about establishing responsible land-use policies. If granted, this sets a precedent. This is a slippery slope.”