I have personal issues with religion, mostly Mormons and Catholics since I grew up in those two religions. I’m now going to add Greek Orthodox to the list.
St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in San Diego CA recently applied for permits to demolish two homes on Indiana Street, one of which, and possibly both, has been designated historic.
The church owns both homes, but nonetheless…. So, how can they demolish something that officially has been designated historic? Well, it’s another issue that I have with religions.
Religions, the bane of humanity in my opinion, not only are exempt from paying property taxes but are exempt from many other rules and regulations that the general public has to abide by. In this case, because of religious exemptions, the church does not have to justify its decision, quite often a torturous and onerous process (as it should be), and does not have to order impact reports on how it intends to use the land.
The demolition permits cost $2,331, and the City approved them, even though their own documents noted that the homes are historic. Even with religious exemptions, though, the City has the power to disapprove the demolition permits. In this case, I think the City failed.
Upon learning of the demolition permits, the Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO) immediately went to work to try to save the two houses. They have found a taker for at least one of the two homes but St. Spyridon refuses to delay demolition so that SOHO can get all the paperwork done to relocate the two houses.
The two houses were custom-built in the 1920s. In other words, they aren’t your typical tract homes in this neighborhood.
3688 Indiana Street, San Diego CA
2,886 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms
2016 assessed value: $404,500
2016 property taxes: $32.44 (It’s that religious exemption thing)
Last sale: 1987 to St. Spyridon
3694 Indiana Street, San Diego CA
1,241 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
2016 assessed value: $226,664
2016 property taxes: $29.50 (That religious exemption thing again)
Last sale: 1988 to St. Pyridon
The North Park Planning Committee’s project review subcommittee has found that there is very little the community can do to keep the houses from being demolished. Although they have contacted St. Spyridon, the church appears not interested in discussing the situation with anyone. “This is so frustrating when we know that at least one of these houses has been designated historic and this loophole lets them tear it down,” said Dionne Carlson. “We’d like to encourage them to think about how it affects the community, and take a little more time to support their community. They have every right to do this, we just hope they will look at other ideas,” she added.
Joaquin Castro, whose business it is to move houses, said that moving the house would save the church the $10,000 cost of demolition and disposing of the building materials.
Already signs are going up on telephone and light poles throughout the neighborhood encouraging a boycott of St. Spyridon’s annual Greek Festival.
I’m hoping the public can put enough pressure on St. Spyridon to do the right thing, and the right thing does not involve demolishing these historic homes.
This post approved by
Zoey the Cool Cat
with her cute little pink nose