Author Topic: Scientologists' move meets opposition  (Read 1700 times)

Offline SocialTransparency

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Scientologists' move meets opposition
« on: May 03, 2009, 09:49 »

 Article in the May 01/09 Sandy Springs Reporter. This news paper and online site is viewed by thousands of local citizens on a daily basis!

Scientologists' move meets opposition

http://sandysprings.lps2.com/1homebody.lasso

May 01, 2009

Sandy Springs residents roared over the Church of Scientology's rezoning request at a community-developer resolution meeting April 23.

It was the initial public discussion for the application, which is scheduled to go before the City Council on June 16.

Now based in Dunwoody, the church wants to move to 5395 Roswell Road at the corner of Glenridge Drive.

Church members purchased the property around 2005. The congregation plans to renovate the 46,000-square-foot structure and must seek rezoning because current conditions limit the site to office and professional use.

"We really aren't asking for a significant change … just the right to have a religious institution on the property," said Woody Galloway of Dillard & Galloway, the attorney for the church.

He said the church will spend more than $3 million to convert the interior of the building. "The existing perimeter will not change."

But for an hour and a half, neighbors raised concerns, complaints and questions to the church's representative.

In addition, a group of four women, one of them a city resident, came to City Hall to protest Scientology and quietly captured the conversation on camera. They post videos online and protest monthly at the church's current home in Dunwoody.

Traffic congestion and parking shortages topped the list of concerns for speakers from such affected neighborhoods as Round Hill Condominiums and Winfield Glenn.

"It will just destroy the quality of life there at Round Hill," said Richard Herren, an association board member. He said he already hears a constant shriek of skidding wheels from his home.

That's probably because that portion of Roswell Road has seven traffic lights in an area that should have only two, said Kent Garner of the Winfield Glen Homeowners Association.

"We have a huge problem with the traffic right now on Roswell Road," Round Hill resident Patty Burns said.

She said city transportation planner Mark Moore told her the church would bring 40 more cars to the road each morning and evening.

"If you add anything else, it's just going to get worse," said Round Hill resident Gloria Sartogo, who had two car accidents in two years near the community entrance. "There's just no other way out" of the development.

Galloway said the Church of Scientology is not like a traditional Christian church where large crowds attend one service.

"It's spread out," he said, noting members often attend one-on-one counseling or classes similar to Sunday school.

The church has 600 active members, but gatherings usually would be small, he said. The maximum capacity of the sanctuary is 200.

"On an extra-good week, they have 100," Galloway said. "They do intend to grow."

As far as parking, he said the 83 spaces would be sufficient; the city requires 46 based on a standard calculation. For special events, Galloway said, the church would seek offsite parking, shuttle patrons or provide a police presence for traffic control.

Trisha Thompson, the zoning committee chairwoman with the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, proposed several conditions for the rezoning: no overnight stays at the facility; no Narcotics Anonymous meetings; and action by the church to address sidewalks on Roswell Road and Glenridge Drive.

Thompson also wants to ensure adequate parking and limit people at gatherings. "At this time, the applicant has been unwilling to add a capacity cap," she said.

Community Development Director Nancy Leathers reminded residents that while she will address their concerns, she also must protect the rights of the church. "Religious institutions have broad rights under the U.S. Constitution."

The church's application will go before the Planning Commission on May 21. Staff will draft conditions after researching many of the resident concerns, Leathers said, and she anticipates a clause regarding large events.

Comments regarding the application can be sent to city planner Linda Abaray at linda.abaray@sandyspringsga.org.



FYIANON

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Re: Scientologists' move meets opposition
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2009, 07:51 »
I think its beautiful

Offline SocialTransparency

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Re: Scientologists' move meets opposition
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2009, 11:47 »
There are times within all our lives, when one must step up and say," NO! Not in my community". I personally am so sick and tired of uninformed individuals within the halls of government playing the " Religious freedom card" when dealing with this so-called religion known as scientology and all its varying front groups.

To watch legal rep Woodson Galloway of Dillard and Galloway, stand up in a public forum and attempt to sugar coat and or sanitize scientology for local consumption is for this poster morally reprehensible. Woodson Galloway is a fellow Christian and member and usher @ one of Atlanta Georgia,s largest christian churches. IMO, i would have hoped Mr Galloway would have vetted his current client before going down the road he has chosen.

As a fellow christian, i view Woodson Galloway,s actions as hypocritical.IMO a christian by convenience, so to speak. He as an attorney IMO appears to and is willing to sell his services to those whom are able to pay for his professional services, whatever the cost both morally and ethically. Mr Galloway can not have it both ways. A christian on sunday, then a paid cult enabler on a monday. Am i to listen to this professional? Put him on a pedestal as the de-facto purveyor of all that is right and just? No. I can not follow his lead. This is NOT a mere zoning issue. Mr Woodson Galloway needs to look inward from a ethical and moral stand point here on this issue!

Has it come to the point in our nation and local communities that we must pander to that which we know is unhealthy to said community? Does the 501C and stamp of federal approval of religious status, make scientology a positive addition to our communities? Answer is no! Scientology is IMO at the very least, a reflection of what my country had devolved into. A sort of " live and let live" mentally. If it does not affect my life, why should i care?

It is that very mindset that allows these horrendous entities to flourish @ the cost of the local citizenry and health of both the business,s,citizenry and home owners alike. We as educated concerned citizens can only do so much. We have the knowledge and understanding of scientology,s manipulation of both the individual and local governments. It is this posters hopes, the local community and government stop this madness in its infancy. If not, in the future, the local government and citizenry will forever be plagued by that which they have let into their community.

It is this posters opinion, scientology will add ZERO to the overall health and welfare of the state of Georgia and the city of Sandy Springs ! The mere presence of this entity will slowly degrade the current tenor of the area. One only needs to look @ other cities to view the local impact scientology has had within the area,s it has been allowed to manifest itself.

This issue is not and never will be about the religious freedoms of a small group of misguided zealots. This issue is far bigger than that IMO.

Though a non violent entity @ this time, this poster see,s no difference between scientology and many other religious extremist groups that lurk within our society. Scientology under the guise of a religion, is extremism taken to new heights! Left unchecked, scientology within its core teaching would want ALL Americans to march to its sordid drum beat. IMHO scientology is very un-American and holds itself above the law of the land! Scientology manipulates the United States constitution to em-better and advance its agenda.

Human history tends to repeat its mistakes over and over again. To allow scientology and its adherents to influence both social and moral mores is to repeat many of mankind,s past failures.

FYIANON

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Re: Scientologists' move meets opposition
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2009, 17:03 »
Totally agree with you and working on my second letter in to the leaders of SS

Offline mefree

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Re: Scientologists' move meets opposition
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2009, 22:13 »
Amy,

You will probably get several emails about this. For that, I apologize. However, I think it is important to make this distinction. What residents at the public meeting were inquiring about in relation to additional Scientology organizations that might be housed in their "ideal org" was Narconon, not Narcotics Anonymous (NA has absolutely nothing to do with Scientology)

A lot of people do not realize that Narconon is a Scientology front group which provides a non-standard form of drug treatment that is not supported by any peer-reviewed studies that I am aware of. Their primary purpose appears to be to raise funds for their organization and recruit new members.

For more information, you might review the following links:

http://www.stop-narconon.org
http://www.narconon-exposed.org

And a huge thanks for your coverage of the rezoning meeting.

Thanks,
me


Ms. X:
 
Thank you for making me aware of the error. We will be running a correction in our next edition, May 15.
 
I apologize for the error.
 
Sincerely,
 
Amy Wenk
Staff Writer & Designer
Sandy Springs/Buckhead/Brookhaven Reporter Newspapers
Office: (404) 917-2200, ext. 14
Cell: (678) 234-9845
www.reporternewspapers.net
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
-Dalai Lama

Offline mefree

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Re: Scientologists' move meets opposition
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2009, 19:59 »
Did we miss this article? I did not find it elsewhere:

http://sandysprings.lps2.com/Articles-c-2009-05-01-155896.113118_Crime_proposed_church_concernHigh_Point_Civic_Association.html

Crime, proposed church concern High Point Civic Association

by John F. Schaffner

May 01, 2009
The High Point Civic Association heard a report from Sandy Springs police Lt. Steve Rose on crime in the southeast area of the city and a discussion from Senior Officer Larry Jacobs of the benefits of the city's Neighborhood Watch program in helping to fight crime.

According to association President Alan Powell, the annual meeting April 21 was "quiet" and mainly centered on the "state of affairs in the community," which encompasses the Sandy Springs neighborhoods south of I-285 and east of Roswell Road.

Powell said the association is trying to encourage all the neighborhoods to get involved in Neighborhood Watch. But because it is a civic association and not a homeowners association, he said, those living in the various neighborhoods cannot be forced to participate in such programs.

Powell said the High Point Civic Association "is certainly one of the largest organized associations in Sandy Springs."

He said meeting attendees discussed plans by the Church of Scientology to renovate the interior of a building members have owned for a few years to provide a new home for the church, now in Dunwoody. The building, Powell said, is as former real estate office building at the corner of Glenridge and Roswell roads, adjacent to the post office.

Powell said his organization has no issues with the church but does have questions about the maintenance and uses of the building. He said the building has not been well cared for during the three years church members have owned it.

As for the planned use of the building for meetings of 200 or more people, Powell said his association members question where people attending those meetings are going to park and how traffic at that intersection will be handled.

He said some in his association have studied reports of experiences with Scientologists in other states to determine whether there have been any problems with neighborhoods where they have conducted business.

But Powell was quick to say that his association does not know enough about the church's plans to formulate an official position.
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
-Dalai Lama