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For week ended May 30, 1999 Posted 26 Jun 1999

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Churches expand along with suburbs

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Churches expand along with suburbs
Albany NY Times-Union, Page A1 30May99 C6
By Kimberly Martineau: Staff writer;

The LDS Church isn't the only church neighbors object to when they start to build. Any congregation that attempts to buid or expand can run into objections from their neighbors.

In Albany, the catholic parish Christ the King is looking to expand, after growth from 300 members in 1957 when the current building was built, to 2,300 now. So they planneda $3 million expansion, only to run into neighbors concerns. "They're racing down here like it's the Northway," said Phyllis Rhoades, who lives a block away. "I have nothing against the church. They have a lot of people there -- I know they need the room. But I worry about the kids."

But in spite of the concerns, current laws favor the Churches over the neighbors, at least in Albany. "Churches, schools and fire houses -- they're really untouchable," said Bethlehem building director John Flanigan. "It would be nice for the neighbors of any property owner -- particularly one that doesn't pay taxes -- to have some means of appeal over development," said Kathleen Daly, neighbor to the Delmar Reformed Church, which is about to start a $1.5 million expansion.

Because the law tends to favor churches, even the LDS Church has won in Albany. In mid May, an appellate court ruled that the Clifton Park Planning Board had illegally denied a building permit for an LDS chapel. The denial was based on water drainage and traffic concerns, both common zoning issues.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information