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.