CB7 rejects Mormon Church bid

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It’ll take a prayer.

The Mormon Church will have to re-examine its options after Community Board 7 (CB 7) unanimously rejected a request for zoning variances for a proposed church on 33rd Avenue in Flushing.

With 11 congregations in Queens, and one currently in Flushing, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proposed building a new structure that would include a worship area and community room on the ground floor, plus classrooms and office space on an upper level.

The Church needs three variances to build a 23,000-square-foot building on the land it owns at 145-15 33rd Avenue. A 12,000-square-foot structure is allowed there under current zoning. The plan also calls for a 94-foot steeple, which would end up being one of the tallest structures in Queens.

Officials at CB 7 said that this structure would not fit the character of the neighborhood and that the variances requested by the church go against zoning laws in Flushing.

Bishop John Wu, who leads the church’s worshippers on Sanford Avenue, said his congregation has outgrown its current location and expansion is sorely needed. However, CB 7 contends that the rejection is all about size — and he believes the church wants something that is too big for the mostly residential area.

“We looked at this application with a blind eye, and we determined that it did not meet the zoning laws,” said Tyler Cassell, a member of the zoning committee and the land use committee at CB 7. “Our fear is that if these variances are granted, it would be a precedent setting case and will open the door to other large community facilities to further invade our neighborhoods protected under the current zoning.”

Residents voiced their opposition to Borough President Helen Marshall during a public hearing Thursday, February 2. Marshall will make a recommendation within 30 days to the city Board of Standards and Appeals, which has the final say.