I am the new rector at St. Anselm's Episcopal Church, in the Burton Valley area. Despite efforts by the City of Lafayette to upzone church properties in the City to encourage low income housing, we at St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church assure you that we have no plans to develop any housing on our property. In fact, we are investing a significant amount of money in our property to continue and enhance its ongoing use as a neighborhood church with a play-based preschool.
In the span of about two hours today, I was asked by two different neighbors whether St. Anselm’s has plans to develop housing on its property. Later, I learned that a flyer circulating in the community indicates that the Lafayette City Council may consider changing the zoning designation of all church properties within the City to allow for the development of more housing.
Before I became a priest, I worked as a lawyer for local government, and my work included zoning and land use issues. The zoning change that the City Council may be considering is within the City’s zoning and land use authority. The City does not need, and City staff did not ask, our permission before considering this change. But no development can occur on the St. Anselm’s property without the express agreement of the church. Indeed, the City cannot compel St. Anselm’s to use its property in any particular way without “taking” the church’s property.
We at St. Anselm’s plan to continue using our property for church purposes, for our successful, play-based Michael Lane Preschool, and for community events and gatherings that support our neighborhood. I hope to see you at those events! If you have any questions, you are welcome to
contact me at [email protected].
Rev. Stephen M. Siptroth, Rector
St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church