Posts Tagged ‘zoning’

During tonight’s Committee Meeting, Father Hilton made this statement:

“The City of Westminster has been wonderful to work with.”

Adam agreed!


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An update from Community Development at the City of Westminster:

Meeting held for Holy Trinity

(Apr 17, 2009)

On Tuesday, April 14, a neighborhood meeting was held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

The church is proposing to rezone from R-1 (single-family residential) to PUD (planned unit development).

The rezoning would bring the church into compliance with setbacks and heights that exist on the site, as well as increase the existing allowable height from 25 feet to 35 feet (and 45 feet for bell towers, spires and crosses).

The church is currently working on plans for a bell tower at the northwest corner of the sanctuary, which will be processed as an amended official development plan.

There were no neighbors in attendance at the meeting.

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Local Zoning

Yellow areas are zoned R-Residential.

In today’s bulletin, Father Hilton writes:

I know that many of you were discouraged by last weekend’s news concerning the loss of the bell tower. What happened? A year ago, the parish presented to the City of Westminster preliminary plans and drawings for the church renovation. These plans included the bell tower. Our architect met with the City on a number of occasions during this past year and they never indicated to him that there was a problem with the height of the tower. It was only three weeks ago that they made their concerns known to us.

What are the City’s concerns? The property that Holy Trinity Parish sits upon is zoned for residential, not commercial use. The height of the buildings built upon residential property is limited to a maximum of 25 feet. The City granted a height exemption when we build the Fr. Puhl Center and we were given no reason to expect that there would be any difficulty with out bell tower. The City has decided not to grant an exemption, however, which they have every right to do. We only wish that we had been notified last year when we first presented the designs to them.

The only way to proceed with the bell tower would be to go through a lengthy and probably very costly process of changing from residential to commercial zoning. This would mean serious delays to the entire church renovation project, just as we are preparing to begin construction in June. In other words, to seek a change of zoning would mean that the start of construction would very likely have to be delayed until 2010. After much consultation, I have decided that it is much better to begin construction now, without the bell tower, rather than incur long delays and extra expenses. Our most recent architectural plans have deleted the bell tower and, be assured, the church still looks very beautiful.

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First and foremost – the following posting is the personal opinion of Troy C. Bettinger, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the Holy Trinity Remodeling Committee, the Pastor and Staff of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, the project architect, or the Archdiocese of Denver. Troy is neither a zoning expert nor is he a real estate lawyer. Please take it for what it is worth.

As you probably have heard, and as I referenced earlier today, the Remodeling Committee has voted to remove the bell tower from the Holy Trinity Remodeling project.  Father Ricci announced this change today in the 11:00AM Mass, and probably others. This essay is an attempt to document how the City of Westminster surprised us all with some critical challenges to our plan, and why the Remodeling committee chose to remove the bell tower.

This essay has five parts:

  1. Moaning about Zoning;
  2. You Can’t Fight City Hall;
  3. Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don’t;
  4. The Say/Do Ratio Must Equal 100%;
  5. Fair Is What You Pay To Ride a Bus.

This is a long posting, so most of the first part is tucked away behind the MORE link below. I hope to learn more from your comments. Please feel free to add your thoughts to this discussion.

Let me start by saying that removing the bell tower is not the solution anyone wants. The committee has debated long and hard about the implications of the change, the nessessity of the change, and the trade-offs of the change. I hope in this five-part essay to capture my understanding of the relevant laws, to relate the options considered by the committee, and to review the final decision. Readers are encouraged to contact all committee members for a more comprehensive set of opinions.



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Dear Holy Trinity family –

At the 11:00AM Mass today, Father Ricci announced that the bell tower must be removed from the new facade in order for our remodeling project to proceed. This hard decision is the result of a zoning surprise that Westminster shocked us with late last month.

We have a full back story involving lawyers, zoning officials, Archdiocesan construction experts, and some hard decisions by the remodeling committee. I’ll be posting as complete a view as I can as soon as I can, but as you can imagine, this is a complex story describing a complex situation. Please check back soon for the update.


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Earlier this month In Beaufort County, South Carolina, county council member Laura Von Harten let everyone know about her reasons for opposing a zoning request from a local Catholic church. The Beaufort Gazette has the story:

Board member disagrees with
Catholic church teachings;
will vote against expansion

Published Tue, Nov 18, 2008 12:00 AM

A county board voted to rezone a greater Bluffton church over the objection of one County Council member who said she’ll vote against it because of the Catholic church’s stance on reproductive rights and other issues.

The county Land Management Committee voted 5-2 Monday to rezone St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church from rural to suburban, a move that, if approved by County Council, would allow the growing parish to expand.

That change would allow the church and school on U.S. 278 near Buckwalter Parkway to build additional buildings and parking because it reduces the amount of required open space on the 63-acre site by 20 percent.

County Councillor Laura Von Harten

Beaufort County Councilor Laura Von Harten

During the discussion, Laura Von Harten, who represents Beaufort and Port Royal, but is not a member of the land committee, said she won’t support the rezoning when it comes before the council because official Catholic policies are an “affront to my dignity and all of womankind.”

Von Harten cited the Catholic church’s position against female clergy and “uterus rights” as her reason for opposing the rezoning request.

“I don’t want to support anything that will perpetuate that,” she said. “I just have to vote in favor of love and not hate.”

Church leaders took great exception to Von Harten’s comments.

“I’ve lived in South Carolina for 15 years and have never heard such religious bigotry,” Father Ronald Cellini said after the meeting.

St. Gregory the Great has no immediate plans to build, except for adding parking spaces and reconfiguring the lot to make it easier for people to get in and out, according to Ross Kuykendall, chairman of the congregation’s building committee.

The church is saddled with debt from its kindergarten through sixth-grade school that opened in August 2007, Kuykendall said.

“We just need the zoning so we can expand in the future,” he said.

Ms. Van Harten can be contacted at lvonharten@bcgov.net or (843)379-1367.

UPDATE 29-NOV-08: Von Harten has her defenders in Beaufort County, including Deb Welch and Walt Hartung.

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