The City Council rejected the Zion Central Presbyterian Church's request to expand operations on Lincoln Avenue, saying it was incompatible with redevelopment plans for the area.
The Lincoln Avenue church proposed to lease space along the avenue for an office and storage area.
Pastor Tae Won Kang, flanked by more than a dozen church members, told the council the approval would help the church grow, contribute to the city and provide youth programs.
But Christine Kelly, the city's community development director, told the council the proposal was not in agreement with plans to promote commercial and retail businesses in the area.
After the council's 4-1 rejection, Kang called the vote unfair.
"We want to use space that has been vacant for several years for something good," Kang said. "You can't always be materialistic and adhere to a commercial policy."