A Christian congregation in Bethel is appealing a decision from the city's Zoning Board of Appeals that prohibits it from building a new church on Shelter Rock Lane.
"The ultimate goal, of course, would be to reverse the decision the Zoning Board of Appeals made and to be able to build a church on that lot," said Peter Scalzo, the attorney representing His Vineyard, Inc.
His Vineyard, lead by pastors Gary and Kerry Baldelli of Danbury, wanted to move from 8 Grassy Plain Street in Bethel to 22 Shelter Rock Lane in Danbury because most of the congregation's 200 members live in the city.
The ZBA rejected the application June 12, with one member, Gary Dufel, saying he wanted to preserve the city's industrial zones for economic development.
Dufel pointed out there are plenty of other places in Danbury to build churches.
However, in documents mailed to Danbury Superior Court June 30, Scalzo and fellow attorney Frank Scinto argue that churches should be allowed in the industrial zone just as hotels are allowed.
Both are places of public assembly, the attorneys argue, and prohibiting churches while allowing hotels is a violation of a federal law that gives houses of worship some leeway over local zoning regulations.
I'll stay on top of this story as this has all the makings of an interesting land-use case.