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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 26Jun01

By Kent Larsen

After Early Opposition, North Yarmouth Maine Will Get LDS Chapel

NORTH YARMOUTH, MAINE -- In spite of some early resistance from neighbors, the North Yarmouth branch will get a new 13,000-square-foot chapel in the next year or so. Local and state government bodies approved the Church's plans last month, after they were modified to meet neighbor's concerns. Construction should begin in August, "We hope to be in within a year," said long-time branch member Jean Bibber. "It will be almost 10 years since we formed the [branch]."

The building will include 15 classrooms and a nearly full-sized basketball court in addition to the chapel. Like many LDS buildings, it includes moveable walls, allowing the building to be used for multiple events. An article about the building in the Portland Press Herald said that LDS buildings are different from other church buildings, "Because the building houses so many functions, it's larger than many churches." But Bibber says the size of the building seems normal to Mormons, "To those of us who belong to the church, it doesn't seem huge because we use every bit of it."

Initially, the proposed building was met with opposition from neighbors, who asked for the building to be set back further from the road, that tree buffers between the building and neighbors be put in and that shorter lamp posts be used in the parking lots. Neighbors had complained that the Church was putting the building in their neighborhood when no church members lived there, "They are going to build this giant facility that is not for anybody in our community, and plunk it down in the middle of our community," said neighbor John Williams at the time of zoning hearings for the building, "It doesn't seem right."

Neighbors have denied all along that religion has anything to do with their concerns. A next-door neighbor, Gary Mitchell, says, "My sense was that people were concerned with the character of the neighborhood," said Gary Mitchell, a next-door neighbor. "I didn't get the sense that anyone was anti-Mormon ... I think they'll be perfectly good neighbors. That was never an issue."

Now that the neighbors have been satisfied and the necessary approvals obtained, branch members are looking forward to the new building, "I'm ecstatic," said Bibber. "It will be really nice to have a place. It was really an answer to prayer."


Mormons' home nearer to reality
Portland ME Press Herald 23Jun01 D1
By John Richardson: Portland Press Herald Writer

See also:

Maine Branch Faces Zoning Controversy


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