[Hpn] Church may be left homeless

LA Daily News by Email wtinker@metrocast.net
Thu, 20 May 2004 03:52:21 -0600


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<font face='verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif' size='-1' color='#000000'>This article was emailed to you at the request of : <b>William Tinker</b>  -  <a href='mailto:wtinker@metrocast.net'>wtinker@metrocast.net</a><br>The sender included the following brief message : <i></i><br><a href='http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413,200%257E20954%257E2159318,00.html'>View this article</a><br><a href='http://www.dailynews.com'>View LA Daily News</a><p><font face='verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif' size='4' color='#000000'><center><b><a href='http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413,200%257E20954%257E2159318,00.html'>Church may be left homeless</a></b></center></font><p> <font face='verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif' size='4' color='#000000'><center>Neighbors say facility has too much traffic<BR></center></font><p><font face='verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif' size='-2' color='#000000'><b>By Rachel Uranga<BR>Staff Writer<BR></b></font><br><font face='verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif' size='-1' color='#000000'><b>Wednesday, May 19, 2004</b></font> <font face='verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif' size='-1' color='000000'> - <P>PACOIMA -- After more than 50 years in
Pacoima, the Paradise Church of God in Christ recently agreed to
sell its property to make way for the Vaughn Street Charter High
School, something many in the community wanted.<P>

 But if the Pentecostal church does not get over some planning
hurdles to build a 415-seat, 11,000-square-foot church on property
it owns in Sylmar, it could find itself without a place to worship
after the school opens in August.<P>

 In addition to homeowner objections, a city zoning administrator
denied Paradise's first building application, citing increased
traffic and disruption of the residential neighborhood near Fellows
Avenue and Polk Street.<P>

 The Rev. Emmanuel Knight said Paradise has amended its plans by
cutting the number of services and events it will hold to satisfy
residents' concerns.<P>

 "We are not trying to cause a traffic jam. We are there to build
a church," said Knight, pastor of the church for 25 years. "It's
going to be beautiful. Anything we can do with the community we will
do it."<P>

 The church is appealing to the area planning commission, which
will hear the case today, and has the support of Councilman Alex
Padilla.<P>

 "It's not the ideal location, but there is not much else in the
way of vacant land," said David Gershwin, Padilla's spokesman.
"This is the least disruptive of all nonresidential projects, and
at the end of the day, it's a church, it builds positive
community."<P>

 Still, many Sylmar homeowners say they'll continue to fight the
church, which plans to hold services on Sunday mornings and Tuesday
and Thursday evenings.<P>

 "Traffic is already terrible. There is no parking on the
street," said Janice Takomoto, 64, who owns a duplex and three
homes, all rental properties, next to the vacant lot at 13187 N.
Fellows Ave.<P>

 Residents also complain there are two schools within three blocks
of the proposed site, Olive Vista Middle School with nearly 900
students and Sylmar Elementary with 1,086 students, which they say
already generate traffic.<P>

 Knight said his 200-member African-American church has been a
refuge in Pacoima for decades, providing a place for homeless to
sleep once a week, a hall for the neighboring school to hold
graduations and a place for many blacks who have left the area to
reunite and reminisce.<P>

 Knight has offered to stop holding fund-raising barbecues,
discontinue the homeless program and end an arrangement with a local
Latino congregation to hold services at the church several times a
week.<P>

 But Takomoto said she and others would still be opposed to the
new church.<P>

 "They are just going to bring more people into the community
that aren't from here. The pastor is from Los Angeles and they have
people coming from Sun Valley, Northridge, Lancaster, Lake View
Terrace and Pacoima. How are they going to contribute to this
community?"<P>

Rachel Uranga,
(818) 713-3741 
 <a href="mailto:rachel.uranga@dailynews.com">rachel.uranga@dailynews.com</a> 
<P>
<B>IF YOU GO</B><P>
The Area Planning Commission will meet at
4:30 p.m. at the Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys
Blvd., First Floor Meeting Room, Van Nuys.<P>

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