Thursday, March 8, 2012
Mormon Megachurch heads to BSA with unanimous thumbs down
From the Times Ledger:
Flushing civics were set to hold a rally this week to try to persuade the city Board of Standards and Appeals to deny plans for a Mormon chapel on 33rd Avenue.
The proposal for the two-story church, which exceeds several zoning laws, was most recently recommended for denial Feb. 23 by Borough President Helen Marshall.
The plan was unanimously turned down by Community Board 7 in January.
Both Marshall and CB 7 put in their recommendations before the BSA either grants several variances to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or sends it back to the drawing board.
Church officials said they would push on through the process, according to David Duffy, head of a group of 11 Mormon churches in the surrounding area.
Zoning lawyers for the church have contended that they can already build a chapel with extremely tall ceilings. Doubling the allowable floor space would permit them to have an extra floor inside and would only raise the overall height about 10 feet.
But activist and zoning expert Paul Graziano, who has been a vocal opponent of the church’s plans, said 10 extra feet is considered a standard story on a house, and that the Mormon church has room to build on the Sanford Avenue land it already owns.
The church has contended that the space is too small for its chapel, but the LDS Church recently cut the ribbon on a church in Jamaica that was built on a much smaller area.
According to a TimesLedger Newspapers analysis of blueprints for the Jamaica chapel, it has nearly all the same amenities as the proposed Flushing chapel.