Town says church ruining rural lifestyle (Church says town anti religous)
Foxfield at odds over rectory and traffic it attracts
By Jennifer Miller, Rocky Mountain News January 29, 2005
This quiet oasis seems an unlikely setting for a court battle over religious freedom that pits the Catholic Church against a town of fewer than 800 people. >snip
Reacting to complaints, the town passed an ordinance in late 2001 banning "more than five motor vehicles . . . within 1,000 feet" of a private residence "on more than two occasions during any 30-day period."
Judge Nancy Hopf upheld the ordinance last month. The judge's decision "is hostile to our parish, the archdiocese and to religion in general," Buelt wrote in this month's parish newsletter.
Some Foxfield residents say the issue isn't religion, but being a good neighbor.
We had a thing here in Nashville last year. One of the private schools had been buying up homes in a particularly old, quiet, well-heeled neighborhood for 10 years in anticipation of eventually expanding and adding a sports field for football.
The neighborhood sat on its collective butt, thinking it would never come to pass. When they realized it was close to becoming a reality, that their neighborhood streets would no longer be safe for their kids to play in, that cars would be lining the streets (and no doubt, half-parked on their lawns) once a week, they went into action and got an historic overlay for zoning. The school was screwed.
The school bought residences. The school still owns residences. The school has absolutely no publicly guaranteed entitlement to its predatory expectations. There has been no "taking." They still have exactly what they bought.
Let's say they "anticipated" finding oil and didn't. That's their problem. They still own what they bought.
..the purpose for what they were going to use the property for had been legal, and now no longer is. A change in the law has adversely impacted what they can do with the property.
If the neighborhood was so worked up about having a stadium put on the property, why would they not get together and make their own (better) offers to the individuals who had sold their homes to the school. Instead, now that they see the stadium was going to become a reality, they go running to government to change the rules for them.
So, the "historic neighborhood" doesn't have to put out any financial incentive to the school to maybe persuade them to change their mind. Instead, the police power of the government can now be threatened, and the "neighborhood" doesn't have to spend a dime.
Meanwhile, all the money the school put into purchasing the properties, well, let's hope they can get something back for it.
And if not, well, they're just "predatory" "sport freaks" (to quote you and another poster), so just screw 'em.
The people who live there, own homes there, and vote there decided to exercise their democratic rights. A real estate speculator didn't get the advantages they expected. Tough shit. It's not "one dollar = one vote" yet.
Let's imagine an alternative. Let's imagine that they made an open contingency offer to all the homeowners to buy their property in order to build a stadium. The homeowners could accept or reject the offer. The neighboring homeowners whose "peaceful enjoyment" of their residences would be impacted (probably be destroyed) could have protested and argued for zoning changes. The school wouldn't have risked any money whatsoever. They'd either get it or not. Instead, they tried to game it and lost.
A "fair market" means "fair" for both buyers and sellers, with everyone having access to the same information. It means honest. It means an equitable exchange that reflects the value propostion on both sides.
It doesn't mean subterfuge. It doesn't mean stealth. It doesn't mean profiting on the losses of others.
The rules include the ability of the citizens to make and maintain zoning restrictions that preserve the 'peaceful enjoyment' of their residences and neighborhoods. The rules include the ability of the private school to fight any such changes. (They either didn't or they failed.)
To say the "rules were changed" is to say that the people shouldn't act lawfully in their own self-interests just because it got in the way of the stadium aspirants. The people followed the rules and did something that's done every week in every community of any size in this entire country. They enacted zoning restrictions to more accurately reflect the actual use of the property in that neighborhood. Zoning is changed all the time. Everywhere.
Why is it that when some wheeler-dealers come in and get zoning changed to accommodate their (future) commercial aspirations it's called "good business" but when people who actually live there do it to reflect their (current!) investment and usage of the property it's called "changing the rules"? That's just horse shit.
It's a neighborhood that people who buy in would give their eyeteeth for; the majority of residents are living in houses their parents or grandparents had owned. It's very Norman Rockwell in a town where there are very few neighborhoods that really *feel* like neighborhoods. I think neighbors simply couldn't imagine the school's plan was anything more than a pipe dream, because it was so valued as a residence.
21. "They still own what they bought" Absolutely! Use that when land
speculators scream "takings" at local governments to get them to bend over on zoning changes! There is NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to be assured of X% profits on SPECULATION.
The school still has their property, they just can't adversely affect the value of properties adjacent to theirs by making traffic/use changes. Time to start drawing lines in the sand and defending the community.
Repeat: There is no right to be assures a profit on a venture. Likewise, there is no right to assume you can do something radically different in an area just because you own part of that area. Other people's interests need to be considered.
The were speculating- counting their chickens before they hatch.
I guess I'm not a sports freak, because I see gigunda facilities standing empty-like churches-most of the time. Why would that facility be more important than the neighborhood people have to live in every day?
The "rectory" being the private residence and possibly where people meet for religious counseling and such, maybe have committee meetings. Should buy a van and hire a driver to shuttle people from the church parking lot to the rectory.
My sense is though, Catholics don't flock to a church that is mainstream bs. The Catholic churches that do well tend to run more toward the liberal agenda.
This church may be experiencing the repug agenda - after all the Pope is coming down on Bush for the war in Iraq.
<< Added after I found more information >> There is a building they use as a chapel, so they probably do have services there, maybe small weddings too. I still say they should park at the church and shuttle over, though.
This is a rural area where houses are not near each other, very likly a half mile or so apart from each other like most rural areas. If you had all the kds in the neighborhood over to your house everyday it wouldn't matter because they would be more than a thousand feet away from the nearest neighbor, however if you plop down a church (or store) in the middle it could be within a thousand feet of several homes. I think zoning laws are the place for this though. That is why they have residential areas. Keep traffic down.
4. your extract misses the main point of the article, which is that
a guy was conducting church services in his home at the end of a cul-de-sac while the church was being built. Cars were completely clogging the road:
<snip> "One night my wife and I came home and cars were lined up and down the street," Gieling said. "We couldn't even get into our house. Another Sunday two young kids were directing us where to park." </snip>
I think I'd get a little twisted, too, at the idea of firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars being unable to get through if needed, or of not being able to get into or out of my own driveway. The idea that the law would be used against a family having kids' birthday parties is ridiculous--unless there are so many kids and so repeatedly that their parents' cars are a public hazard. The guy was a dumb@ss to think that using his home in a residential area as a church, esp. for that many people, would be okay. And once again the religionist is "victim":
<snip> "The court sympathizes with the archdiocese," (the judge) wrote, "(but the) town's stated goals of health and safety are sufficient to justify the parking ordinance."
The archdiocese is taking the case to the Colorado Court of Appeals.
The judge's decision "is hostile to our parish, the archdiocese and to religion in general," Buelt wrote in this month's parish newsletter. </snip>
oh wah and boohoo, so it's against the law to impinge on your neighbors' right to law and order and access to their own property--or we're "hostile to religion." The neighbors got it absolutely right: it's about being a good neighbor, nothing more and nothing less.
I still think church attendees should park on the church space and move together over to the rectory, but I'm wondering how can a 28 acre property be "across the street" from a rectory that is on a cul-de-sac?
AND.... if you look at the behavior of the "good neighbors" in this article, they don't seem so nice themselves.
< snip >
The October 2 filing also provides details of attempts at harassment and intimidation directed at church members as they have tried to attend gatherings at the rectory. Neighbors have blocked access to the property with their own cars or by personally standing in front of or behind vehicles; berated guests at the rectory using a public address system on a nearby patio; and most recently, on September 6, as parishioners were coming to the rectory, one neighbor threw an object at a car and began screaming at the occupants. When the driver rolled down his window, the neighbor reached into the car and hit him in the mouth.
8. sounds like typical "suburban sprawl"--a subdivision on edge of
a large acreage on outskirts of town (just a guess). As for the "bad neighbors"--could be a case of what goes around comes around, especially if this guy and his followers are pushing the "victim" thing and antagonizing people even more by so blatantly disrespecting and ignoring the needs and rights of the community.
10. I grew up across the street from a Catholic church
The house I lived in from the age of 3 until I moved out on my own was directly across the parking lot for a fairly large Catholic church and school. This is in New Orleans, where a sizeable portion of the population is Catholic, but my parents were Baptist.
It usually wasn't a problem; the church had adequate parking for their regular school and Masses. But twice a year the school had a fair, when the parking lot would be filled with amusement park rides, and the worshippers and school attendees would have to park on the street. Also, because of the location of the church and school buildings, the noise tended to be focused right on our house. But it wasn't very often, and we put up with it. After all, we knew the church was there when we moved in.
The biggest problem was Easter and Christmas, the two masses which are the only two days many people ever bother going to church. For years we would have great trouble getting our car out to go to our own church. One year one of the churchgoers parked between our driveway and our neighbor's, with the rear bumper of his car blocking our driveway and the front bumper blocking the neighbor. It was quite impossible for us to get our own car out past it.
My Dad, who is about the least confrontational person you can imagine, walked across the street and into the church just as Easter Mass was starting, and loudly announced that if the cars blocking our driveway were not moved immediately, he would be calling the police.
It didn't happen again for many years
Also, when I was about ten years old the church decided it would be classy to install bells that chimed on the hour. Except they weren't quite classy enough to get a real carillon; it was a tape recording of bells. Again, the sound was focused on our house. And they ran 24/7. That time it took actually calling the police to get them to stop playing the tape at night.
It sounds like this situation started similarly, except that instead of the church and neighborhood meeting half-way as my parents and the church across the street usually managed, each side has gotten pissy about their "rights" and climbed up on a high horse about it. It's not about religion at all; it's about being bad neighbors all around.
It may be legal to have cars parked all up and down the street in a residential neighborhood because of your activities, and in some places nobody would care, but if it's causing a problem and there are complaints then you need to move the activity or come up with a solution. And if you're the neighbors you need to accept that a certain amount of this is acceptable; as long as you can get out of your own driveway, find parking for your own car, emergency vehicles can get through, and it only happens at predictable and relatively infrequent times, then you should put up with it. After all, you might want to have a birthday party or wedding reception one day.
Unfortunately it only takes one side being unreasonable and it's hi-ho, hi-ho, off to court we go. And it sounds to me that in this case both sides are being unreasonable.
that has no parking lot. Parking is prohibited on the main street the church faces so her residential street is clogged with cars every Sunday. Her driveway was frequently blocked until my brother in law began parking his car at the very end of the driveway every Sat night.
12. As someone who lives in a town of less than 800...
...in CO no less, let me tell you this:
The Rocky Mountain News is being pimped.
This has nothing to do with religion. This has to do with a small town, probably home-rule, that passed an ordinance that applies to every kind of business, including the Catholic church.
They couldn't get an exception to the rules, so they're making it about religion. It's not. It's about zoning. Businesses have come into my little town and tried similar crap, and it's gotten them just as far.
Small town does not mean feeble-minded. God, RMN is such a whore... "Some Foxfield residents say the issue isn't religion...."
...I'll bet it's ALL Foxfield residents except for the church guy.
But "Town hates church" is a better slug than "planning commission upholds 4-year old law."
16. There Were Alternatives to Holding Services in That House
The article states that a Catholic church is being built nearby, and the pastor was holding services in his home until the church was built. I believe that a better place could have been found for holding services
For example, a Baptist Church was built a few blocks from my house a few years ago. While it was being built, they rented our community rec center to hold their services. The rec center had a parking lot, and could accomodate worshippers without affecting the surrounding residents.
And I remember growing up in Morris Township, NJ when a Reform Jewish temple was being built. While they were building it, they rented space at a nearby school to hold their services. And a few years later after the temple was finished and the school system was facing an overcrowding situation, the temple returned the favor by offerring its classrooms as a satellite school. I remember the rabbi said that it was their way of thanking the community for helping them out when they were building their temple.
Divide and conquer. We all know all to well why this is even a story. The religious right are pre-empting a war on all those not religious so that the fascist pigs can continue on their quest of delusion.
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