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Author Topic: Front porch application in Shelton leads to Wiccan church questions  (Read 11947 times)
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« Topic Start: September 23, 2009, 06:49:29 am »

http://www.connpost.com/ci_13351766

Gotta love the neighbors.
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« Reply #1: September 23, 2009, 06:55:31 am »

http://www.connpost.com/ci_13351766

Gotta love the neighbors.

What a lot of fuss over nothing! They will be telling people who they can have as friends and family next.... It's ridiculous that you can't even have a party on your own property in peace!  Sad
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« Reply #2: September 23, 2009, 08:44:51 am »

What a lot of fuss over nothing! They will be telling people who they can have as friends and family next.... It's ridiculous that you can't even have a party on your own property in peace!  Sad

I'm going to see if I can say this correctly. No one should have to go through much af anything to get a variance to put an Ada certified front porch (that sizewise fits) onto their house.
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« Reply #3: September 23, 2009, 09:09:05 am »

I'm going to see if I can say this correctly. No one should have to go through much af anything to get a variance to put an Ada certified front porch (that sizewise fits) onto their house.

I tend to agree, but at the same time...  I'm not sure I have enough details to really say who's wrong and who's right (and in what proportions) here.

The thing is, it sounds like the house has a history of being used as a religious site.  We don't get any details about what that means--it could be a few friends getting together to light a couple of candles and say a few quiet prayers to mark the solstice, or it could be large gatherings and bonfires all night and chanting and drumming and whatever.  The people speaking for the community allege that it's not about the Wiccan part of it, it's about having a public religious gathering place (which is apparently advertising its gatherings) nextdoor, and I see nothing in the article to suggest otherwise.  Without knowing what's involved in these gatherings and a little more specifically why the neighbors are concerned, I don't feel like I've got the information to say whether anyone is being unreasonable in a general sense.

All that said, I don't see why the porch itself is the issue to focus on.  The porch is a porch.  If there's concern over the way the property is being used, that's a bigger issue than the porch and simply blocking the porch isn't going to address it.  It seems more appropriate to me to let the porch through without putting up much fuss over it specifically, but to concentrate on complaints about the property's use.
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« Reply #4: September 23, 2009, 10:09:38 am »

I tend to agree, but at the same time...  I'm not sure I have enough details to really say who's wrong and who's right (and in what proportions) here.

I'm with Star on this one. It seems to be more of a zoning/reasonable use of residential property issue than a religious one. It seems like even if the home wasn't going to be used for religious gatherings, but say as a halfway-house, the neighbors would probably have just as much an issue with it as they would for it being used as any kind of church.

There's also been a recent swell in 'flash-mob' partying stories popping up in the media - a kid advertises a party on their myspace or facebook account & all of a sudden they've got 1000 new friends. With these folks advertising openly on witchvox, they're technically inviting everyone who sees the ad to attend, and maybe even potential protesters as well.
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« Reply #5: September 23, 2009, 10:14:35 am »


There's also been a recent swell in 'flash-mob' partying stories popping up in the media - a kid advertises a party on their myspace or facebook account & all of a sudden they've got 1000 new friends.

We've had that problem over here too. One girl had her parent's house completely trashed by a couple hundred people that she had never met thanks to one of her friends putting an invite on the local radio. She ended up running away to hide from her parents. Never a good thing to try.
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« Reply #6: September 23, 2009, 10:41:33 am »

I tend to agree, but at the same time...  I'm not sure I have enough details to really say who's wrong and who's right (and in what proportions) here.

The thing is, it sounds like the house has a history of being used as a religious site.  We don't get any details about what that means--it could be a few friends getting together to light a couple of candles and say a few quiet prayers to mark the solstice, or it could be large gatherings and bonfires all night and chanting and drumming and whatever.  The people speaking for the community allege that it's not about the Wiccan part of it, it's about having a public religious gathering place (which is apparently advertising its gatherings) nextdoor, and I see nothing in the article to suggest otherwise.  Without knowing what's involved in these gatherings and a little more specifically why the neighbors are concerned, I don't feel like I've got the information to say whether anyone is being unreasonable in a general sense.

All that said, I don't see why the porch itself is the issue to focus on.  The porch is a porch.  If there's concern over the way the property is being used, that's a bigger issue than the porch and simply blocking the porch isn't going to address it.  It seems more appropriate to me to let the porch through without putting up much fuss over it specifically, but to concentrate on complaints about the property's use.

I agree with you, the point is the use of the property, but under no circumstances should whatever the use of the property preclude making it handicapped accessible.  Object to the usage on it's own in a different forum.

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« Reply #7: September 23, 2009, 04:28:42 pm »

The people speaking for the community allege that it's not about the Wiccan part of it, it's about having a public religious gathering place (which is apparently advertising its gatherings) nextdoor, and I see nothing in the article to suggest otherwise.  Without knowing what's involved in these gatherings and a little more specifically why the neighbors are concerned, I don't feel like I've got the information to say whether anyone is being unreasonable in a general sense.

This - the bit about it being open rituals made me go "Erm."

I know plenty of people (myself included) who host small group ritual (with occasional guests, but people who've been met, etc. beforehand) in their homes. But when it's a small contained guest list, you can say the things like "Oh, be extra careful not to block X's driveway: they really appreciate that" or "If you need a smoke break, please use the front door not the back one: the sound carries less to the neighbors" or "If you can walk further, please scatter your parking around the block, so our neighbors have plenty of access to spaces." or whatever in a way that just isn't as reliable with an open ritual with a wide range of people coming through. (Also, a closed invite list means you can weed out the people who just do not get appropriate behavior if you have to.)

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All that said, I don't see why the porch itself is the issue to focus on.  The porch is a porch.  If there's concern over the way the property is being used, that's a bigger issue than the porch and simply blocking the porch isn't going to address it. 

In some neighborhoods, zoning is really specific about how close to the street parts of the house can be - it has a great deal to do with property values. (The house I was in with my former housemates was just within limits on this, after the previous owner changed the shape of the garage.) There are studies about how it changes the use (and therefore sound) around the house, too. (i.e. if the front of the house is very close to the street, you tend to have more social gatherings spilling into the back, and that has a different set of noise issues for the surrounding house than if you get small groups of people in both places in nice weather.)
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« Reply #8: September 23, 2009, 07:33:17 pm »

Having read the article I have to side with the neighbors.  Advertising open rituals in a residential neighborhood is asking for problems.  Having smaller, more controlled groups would be better.  Someone mentioned bonfires.  Where I live their are two rules about open fires.
1.  Don't annoy the neighbors.  An annoyed neighbor calls the police
2.  Open fires are only allowed if you are cooking.
Sooo, we have a designated fire ring where it is furthest from the neighbor's homes and, even more important, we always have some marshmellows and sticks nearby so we can be "cooking" on it.

We have never had a complaint about our fires this way, even when my daughter hosts one at midnight.

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« Reply #9: September 24, 2009, 12:13:23 am »

http://www.connpost.com/ci_13351766

Gotta love the neighbors.

I read this in an email the other day and had to chuckle.  Now, I'm sure that the issue is not a religious one (because in this day and age..who discriminates religiously??), but the questions still comes to my head......  if this was say..... a Christian man, a preacher, who had been simply spreading the word in a personal, close knit congregation, and decided to start bringing them to his house...would the neighbors still complain that there was religious ceremonies going on next door??  I can see where the problem with open rituals can come in for some... but as a solitaire, I think that it is wonderful to have a "church" offer a way for those unassociated with the faith in any way to come and see certain things..... now, there is a line that must be kept there though.  How is it really different than the First Babtist Church on the corner having an open house??  I suppose it's all in perception....though..ain't that all life is??
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« Reply #10: September 24, 2009, 05:20:41 am »

(because in this day and age..who discriminates religiously??)

You might be surprised, actually, but that's not what this sounds like to me.

Quote
but as a solitaire, I think that it is wonderful to have a "church" offer a way for those unassociated with the faith in any way to come and see certain things..... now, there is a line that must be kept there though.  How is it really different than the First Babtist Church on the corner having an open house??  I suppose it's all in perception....though..ain't that all life is??

First Baptist has been a building meant for church use from the beginning; the neighborhood was aware of that and developed accordingly; the property is the right size and configuration for it; etc.  This house they're talking about is...  a house.  It's not meant to be a worship space and no one expected it to be.  I also suspect, though I do not know for certain, that a Wiccan ritual is more likely to be outdoors and thus more visible and audible to the rest of the community than First Baptist's events are.

I'm sure it would be lovely to have a group offering open rituals so that people can get some exposure to Wicca.  They have to play by the rules, though, just like everyone else.  It sounds like this group may not be (although, again, we don't have a great deal of information to go on here).

(And, again, it also sounds like the issue of the porch is a completely separate one from the issue of the way the house is being used, anyway.)
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« Reply #11: September 24, 2009, 08:09:44 am »

I read this in an email the other day and had to chuckle.  Now, I'm sure that the issue is not a religious one (because in this day and age..who discriminates religiously??), but the questions still comes to my head......  if this was say..... a Christian man, a preacher, who had been simply spreading the word in a personal, close knit congregation, and decided to start bringing them to his house...would the neighbors still complain that there was religious ceremonies going on next door??  I can see where the problem with open rituals can come in for some... but as a solitaire, I think that it is wonderful to have a "church" offer a way for those unassociated with the faith in any way to come and see certain things..... now, there is a line that must be kept there though.  How is it really different than the First Babtist Church on the corner having an open house??  I suppose it's all in perception....though..ain't that all life is??

Actually, when you talk about house churches (as compared to previously set up and dedicated church buildings), neighbors DO complain about traffic and bring complaints when the regular attendees number more than a very few.  Neighborhoods do complain when 1st Baptist, having the parking set up for a medium church, becomes a megachurch and the parking starts spilling into people's lawns (LYric and Randall, I think I heard this one from you guys)
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« Reply #12: September 24, 2009, 08:46:57 am »

I agree with you, the point is the use of the property, but under no circumstances should whatever the use of the property preclude making it handicapped accessible.  Object to the usage on it's own in a different forum.

Katrina

Without a lot more info, I'll have to leave to a lot of speculation.

As Jennet pointed out, a lot of places have building codes about sizes and set backs.

Now, ADA can trump that, but probably not entirely.  In this case, I suspect that they could make the house handicap accessiable, but it would have to be done without the porch. In other words Only a ramp with small landing leading to the front door rather than a porch that a bunch of people can stand on.

As for useing a house for gatherings, I would think they'd be looking at how often you have gatherings. The weddings for a person's 3 daughters with 150 people each time are a lot different from the monthly moon circle with 30.  The computer LAN party with 30 people once a month is the same as the moon circle with 30 people.
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« Reply #13: September 24, 2009, 10:06:04 am »

Neighborhoods do complain when 1st Baptist, having the parking set up for a medium church, becomes a megachurch and the parking starts spilling into people's lawns (LYric and Randall, I think I heard this one from you guys)

That was me. In downtown Garland. My dachshunds knew what to do when I opened the back door and told them, "Go bark at the Baptists."

I also found out where to place my sprinkler in the summer.  Cool
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« Reply #14: September 24, 2009, 12:39:28 pm »


I also found out where to place my sprinkler in the summer.  Cool

As a person rasied Baptist may I point out that we get Baptised in Water?   If your spinkler causes any complaints remind them of that.
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