Neighborhood Groups and the Orthodox: St. Juliana's victory!
- Hello everyone,
I have been asked to share our experience in obtaining and receiving
zoning approval for our church with both of these lists since our
priest (Dmitry Wieber) has signed off until after lent. Vladyka
Gabriel, Protodeacon Leonid, reader Isaac already know of their
importance to our parish. We want to thank any of you who offered
prayers and support.
We bought (a small parish of less than fifty) a three acre residential
site on a ridge-top in Santa Fe which is governed by both county and
city authorities. Santa Fe is heavily protected by these agencies. I
did not obtain a permit (placing the church at a risk) and we built our
first church on this site. This aggravated and united the majority of
neighbors against us. The church was served with a notice of
violation. We applied for a zoning change but were met with a
tremendous amount of neighborhood opposition and lost before both
authorities. We appealed and lost in District, State and State Supreme
We came back and started all over with changes in plans which relieved
us of any prior concessions since the neighbors won the first round.
We had a new application and "did it right. " We were granted an
extension, met with the ever thinning opposing neighbors in the
presence of county and city staff.
Last Tuesday night, after four years after purchasing the church and
holding services, we were blessed with an unanimous approval of our
requested zoning change.
Vladyka predicted the entire experience and shrugged off any obstacle
as a temptation reminding us that the evil one would not rest and
despises the building of any church. He urged us to be prepared, serve
moleibens, pray to St. Juliana for help, deal with the neighbors and
authorities, move on and get it done. Vladyka and father were the
spiritual guides. Seek their advice and help in these areas before
undertaking such a project.
For advice on "earthly cares" (zoning issues) I feel well seasoned and
am available if I can be of any help. I will have to fit you in
between the meetings (the calls come in daily and I have a meeting
tonight) I am now asked to attend, committees I am asked to join,
"influence" I am requested to exercise which was obtained while getting
to know these authorities and the "influential people" behind them.
After all, now we are all "friends" helping one another and we are all
in this together! I am indebted for life. :)
Seriously, I will happily oblige any request for advise on any church
In Christ, Michael, subdeacon