The Putnam Examiner

Brewster Church Denied Opportunity to Expand Parking

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Local architect Jim Nixon presented to the Board of Trustees last Wednesday.
Local architect Jim Nixon presented to the Board of Trustees last Wednesday.

The Village of Brewster struck down a request from St. Lawrence O’Toole Church to have additional parking spots on its property.

The Village Board of Trustees voted 5-0 to deny a request for a Waiver of Moratorium from the Catholic Church last Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) that would have allowed the church to add 15-18 more spaces for churchgoers. Outraged residents that live on the same street as St. Lawrence O’Toole spoke out against the additional parking before the Trustees eventually voted to stymie the church’s effort for parking expansion.

Village attorney Anthony Mole said trustees had to determine if the waiver would fit in with the new comprehensive plan in the works and if by not granting the waiver, they would be creating an economic hardship.

After the meeting, Mayor Jim Shoenig explained voting against the waiver, saying it could not result in an economic hardship for the church.

“According to the attorney, they had to show hardship. To me it’s a self induced hardship because they bought the property,” he said. “So how can you show hardship when you spent that money to buy something. To me, it’s not a hardship.”

Representing the church was local architect Jim Nixon, who said the parking would have been located in the backyard of a house the church bought. A small portion of the house—a laundry room—would have been demolished for a few more spaces, as well.

People using the parking spaces would’ve entered on Prospect St. but exited on another street.

Residents were outspoken critics against the church’s request, not mincing words.

Prospect St. resident Dawn Willis said the thought of changing that property into a parking lot is a “horror” to many residents that live on the street.

“We’re not happy about this situation at all,” she said, claiming she’s speaking for many neighbors on the street. “I don’t understand why the church is more special than anything else in the village.”

Another Prospect St. resident, Joe Desantis said angrily about St. Lawrence O Toole, “our neighborhood does not exist for you.”

“You’re supposed to be a part of it,” he went on to say. “Not be it. We’re sick of it.”

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