EAST WASHINGTON (KDKA) — The First Christian Church sits on East Beau Street, as it has since 1960.

Over on Thayer Street sits the East Washington Borough Council.

Somewhere in between, is a great divide.

Borough officials have decided that Rev. Stephen Smythers’ church can no longer rent the social hall for Weight Watchers meetings four days a week.

“It’s a for-profit business, and so there are no businesses allowed in East Washington, which, to me, is ridiculous,” says Rev. Smythers.

East Washington, pre-dates the City of Washington, and is zoned residential.

“Because they don’t want people running businesses out of their homes,” said Rev. Smythers. “Although, I do know of some are running businesses out of them.”

The zoning ordinance issue was bad enough.

But the church has recently learned that curbs along Wilmont Street are their responsibility to replace by February. That is according to a letter from the borough code enforcer.

“I can understand sidewalks, I can’t understand curbs because it’s part of the road,” Rev. Smythers said.

Replacing curbs would cost several thousand dollars says the minister, something a congregation of 150 active members doesn’t have.

“With Weight Watchers, we’re still not making it, but it slows the sinking,” Rev. Smythers says.

But the church is getting support from the community at large.

“People very upset. A lot of people didn’t know this has been going on,” added Rev. Smythers.

Our attempts to get a response from East Washington Borough Council were not successful.

At a church board is meeting Wednesday night, they’ll review their options – should they sell the property and move somewhere else or stand and fight.

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