Sunday, March 11, 2012
Understanding the Mormon church controversy
The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints (LDS), also known as the Mormons, have proposed to build a 23,000 square-foot house of worship in North Flushing, Queens in New York City and are requesting major variances from the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA). Community Board 7 and Borough President Helen Marshall have already voted strongly against the request for variances.
North Flushing, a suburban neighborhood known for its century-old single-family houses, was recently rezoned R2A, the first "anti-MacMansion" zone created in New York City. In 2004, then-Councilman Avella (now Senator) changed the laws governing Community Facilities, which include houses of worship, to limit their size in single-family zones (R1 and R2) in order to make sure that they are more in scale with the low-density detached single-family neighborhoods that they are located in. Should these variances be granted by the BSA, it will set a precedent that will overturn the 2004 zoning reforms, creating an incentive for religious organizations to expand their facilities substantially and altering neighborhoods in the process.
A press conference was held on March 8th, 2012 in front of the proposed LDS site and was attended by about 40 local residents and presidents of a number of civic and homeowner associations, representing thousands of residents, from northeast and central Queens.