Sandy Springs planning board says no to Scientology church

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Sandy Springs planning board says no to Scientology church

Post  ChefXenu on Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:59 am

From AJC NORTH FULTON COUNTY NEWS
http://www.ajc.com/news/north-fulton/sandy-springs-planning-board-141069.html

Sandy Springs planning board says no to Scientology church

By April Hunt
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Church of Scientology should not move to Sandy Springs, the city’s Planning Commission decided Thursday night.

In a 3-2 vote, the commission denied the church’s request to rezone a former office building at Roswell Road and Glenridge Drive into its Georgia headquarters. Members David Rubenstein and Donald Boyken dissented.

The vote is nonbinding but will be considered by the City Council during its vote. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the issue at its Oct. 20 meeting.

The swift vote cheered the 30 residents who showed up to oppose the rezoning, but church leaders and 30 members who showed up in support of the move were undeterred.

“We would obviously have preferred to have their approval, but obviously we didn’t win the popularity contest,” said W. Woodson Galloway, the attorney representing the church. “But we will proceed with our request.”

Residents, too, pledged to turn out in force when the matter heads to the City Council. More than 500 people have signed petitions, urging a denial of the rezoning because of parking and traffic problems. Sixteen of the city’s homeowners associations have also formally voted to oppose the rezoning.

“We are really glad that they recognized the problems, but we know that we will be back,” said Patty Burns, president of the Round Hill Condominiums, which sit across from the proposed church site.

Bob Adams, vice president of public affairs for the Church of Scientology International, based in Los Angeles, said, “The church is eager to work with both the city and the residents to reach some sort of agreement.”

He cited various philanthropic and educational programs run by the church as why a move would benefit Sandy Springs. The church has been trying since last spring to get city approval to rezone the Georgian brick building so it can move from Dunwoody.

The city has deferred twice as attorneys from Sandy Springs and Scientology hammered out conditions for a rezoning.

The Planning Commission had been expected to vote between two sets of conditions.

The original conditions called for keeping the existing 111 parking spaces on the site but limited the church to three floors.

The compromise negotiated by the attorneys allowed the church to convert 30 parking spaces into a fourth-floor area for the church but kept the occupancy at 283.

Church representatives said the additional space in the compromise was needed for its operations and hinted at lawsuits if the city denied them.

But because Galloway said the church would not accept the smaller facility, which the commission had recommended earlier this summer, the majority of the board voted to deny outright.

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Re: Sandy Springs planning board says no to Scientology church

Post  Spylon on Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:47 pm

Read the whole thing. That is awesome. An Org destroyed before it can take place.

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