RIDGEFIELD, WA-The freedom of religion apparently doesn’t extend to the administration of it. Clark County land-use planning staff are pooh-poohing plans by the Seventh-day Adventist Church to build a 40,000-sf administration center here that would guide the church’s operations in five western states.

The plans are being turned down because the church wants to build on agriculturally-zoned land that allows for “a permanently located building used primarily for worship” but not one used primarily for administration. As planned, only 2,400-sf of the three-story structure would be as a worship center, with the rest dedicated to business and administration.

The 29-acre parcel in question is located just east of Interstate 5, directly south of the Tri-Mountain Golf Course on Northwest 289th Street. In addition to being agriculturally zoned, the county has been planning to zone it for industrial use when it is brought inside the urban growth boundary. Having a large church there could limit industrial development. The church has appealed the staff’s decision to county land-use hearings examiner Richard Forester. A decision is expected before the end of the month.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has more than 10 million members internationally. Its headquarters are currently in Portland at Burnside and Northeast 102nd Avenue, where it has been since 1970.

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