INDIO, Calif. -

The Indio Planning Commission was scheduled to hold a public hearing Wednesday night regarding a zoning change that would allow the city to prevent more churches from opening in the downtown area.

According to city officials the zoning change would not affect the five small churches or places of worship that are currently located in the downtown area.
They can stay where they are as long as they like.

Officials say a ban on allowing additional places of worship in the area is designed to make sure the city's downtown redevelopment plan is a success.

"The new College of the Desert campus, the big expansion with the county, they're drawing a lot of interest and we want to make sure that we preserve these spaces for retail, commercial and art-type pieces," said Mariano Aguirre, director of Indio Housing & Development Services.

Indio is not alone in looking into the location of churches.  A proposal is also in front of the Palm Springs Planning Commission that would continue to ban churches in the central business district, but expand other areas where they can be located.