clear
Thursday May 7th, 2015 5:43AM

Atlanta residents object to planned priests' home

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) Residents are objecting to the Archdiocese of Atlanta's plans to renovate a house in the city's upscale Buckhead neighborhood so it can be a home for a group of priests in the latest dust-up involving the home.

The dispute involves Atlanta Catholic Archbishop Wilton Gregory's former residence, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Earlier this month, Gregory said he would sell a $2.2 million mansion after parishioners complained it wasn't in line with the tone of austerity Pope Francis has set. Gregory still lives in the mansion but plans to move.

Attorney Hakim Hilliard, who represents some residents near the house, said the planned renovation would create a dormitory for a half-dozen priests in a historic neighborhood zoned for single-family homes. Hilliard said the parish is trying to create a church annex in a neighborhood where such structures are not allowed, and that it should have obtained a special-use permit but did not.

Plans for the project include a chapel, bar, exercise room and other amenities, and the initial estimate for the improvements is $292,000, the Atlanta newspaper reported.

"It's an extravagant project," Hilliard said. "People with big homes have a lot of room, but they don't have chapels in them."

A church lawyer, Kathryn Zickert, says opposition to the renovation amounts to a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act and smacks of religious discrimination.

"The city issued the relevant permits appropriately, and any effort to interfere with them will be met by very strong opposition," Zickert wrote Tuesday to Hilliard.

She added that "any further efforts to intimidate or coerce my client in its efforts to provide this home for six priests in my view is a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act."
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
Georgia sheriff charged in shooting of real estate agent
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia sheriff has been charged with reckless conduct in the shooting of a real estate agent as prosecutors look into his statement that he was conducting police training...
4:26AM ( 1 hour ago )
Tornadoes destroy homes, injure at least 12 in Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Authorities are set to survey the damage left behind after tornadoes swept across the southern Plains, overturning cars and destroying dozens of homes near Oklahoma City.At least...
3:42AM ( 2 hours ago )
Former House Speaker Jim Wright dies at age 92
DALLAS (AP) — Former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright, the longtime Texas Democrat who became the first House speaker in the nation's history to be driven out of office in midterm, has died at age 92.The...
6:31PM ( 11 hours ago )
Authorities seize meth, heroin packaged as Mexican candy
Federal authorities say they've seized methamphetamine and heroin that was packaged to look like Mexican candy.
6:12PM ( 11 hours ago )
Deal signs watered-down craft breweries bill
Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a watered-down bill allowing craft breweries to let customers take home as much as 72 ounces of beer, or the equivalent of a six-pack, but only as a "souvenir.''
6:09PM ( 11 hours ago )