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Pico Rivera : Council Won't Act on Zoning for Christian Club

September 08, 1988

The Pico Rivera City Council has declined to reconsider its zoning ordinance to allow the International Club to be converted to a Christian activities center.

Paul and Frances Flores, who own a controlling interest in the Washington Boulevard building, asked city officials for an exemption to allow church activities in the commercially zoned area. City zoning laws permit churches only in residential neighborhoods.

But the council decided to take no action on the request, preferring to maintain the restrictions in existing commercial zoning, city spokesman John Donlevy said.

Frances Flores said she would consult with an attorney to determine her course of action, which could include a lawsuit against Pico Rivera. "We're not going to give up," she said. "We feel very strong about this. It's not over with."

The Flores have rented the International Club over the years for a variety of events, including wedding receptions, wrestling tournaments and casino fund-raising benefits. They said they decided to change the business after becoming "born-again" Christians. The couple attend First Fundamental Baptist Church in Monterey Park and want to lease their club to First Fundamental for church-related activities.

As proposed, religious services would be held two nights a week. The club's six banquet rooms would be available the rest of the time for church-related activities or community-service programs.

The club is in an area that city officials consider to be key for Pico Rivera's ongoing redevelopment program. Assistant City Manager David Caretto has said the city would like to see commercial uses in the area that produce increased property tax and sales tax revenue.

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