Religious Land Use
Bort, Daniel C.
Bortd at CSPS.COM
Wed Feb 23 11:48:31 PST 2000
"While a spire might have inspirational value and may embody the Mormon
value of ascendancy toward heaven, that is not a matter of religious
doctrine and is not in any way related to the religious use of the temple."
That's how The Boston Globe this morning quotes Middlesex Superior Court
Judge Elizabeth Fahey's ruling of yesterday which reverses a 3-year old
decision by the Belmont Zoning Board of Appeals. I assume the Board had
granted a variance from the zoning regulations' height restriction. One
wonders what evidence the judge had on those points. This is a state court
There is a separate federal case between the same parties involving the same
temple challenging the constitutionality of the so-called Dover Amendments.
The Dover Amendments prevent discrimination against religious, educational
and certain other non-profit uses in zoning and land use decisions. They
were prompted 40 or 50 years ago when the Town of Dover refused to grant a
permit to build a Catholic school because it didn't want a Catholic school
in town. A number of religious denominations (including this one) are amici
in the Federal case.
Daniel C. Bort
The First Church of Christ, Scientist
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