Department of Buildings Looking Into ComplaintsBy Al Jones

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Love thy neighbor? Not necessarily if you live in one Upper West Side neighborhood.

Residents who live near the Redeemer Presbyterian Church at 150 W. 83rd St., aren’t counting their blessings when it comes to location.

The strife is over the fact that church leaders are converting an old parking garage into a community worship center, which residents of a nearby 75 unit co-op say is causing an unholy mess.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones talks to annoyed residents

While they were initially fine with the church’s plans, residents said they were soon caught off guard.

“When we saw the steel beams going up…we were all shocked and surprised,” Nina Teicholz said. “Fifteen feet from my window I’m looking into a giant terrace, a huge brick wall with a giant opening into a vast party space.”

In addition to the height of the structure, a large terrace is being built that almost extends into Robin Landau’s bedroom. She believes residents were misled by the church and what was going to be built at the location.

“We thought that they were going to put a single story there and that… actually we had no idea as to the extent of the size of the terrace,” she said.

Landau told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones, “Had they been more upfront with us…maybe we would have fought it from the beginning.”

According to reports, Redeemer submitted plans to the Department of Buildings to add a 16-foot sound wall to block noise generated by its rooftop air-conditioning unit, bringing the building’s total height to 86 feet — making it roughly a 10-story building in the middle of the block.

Neighbors have been so vocal that the Department of Buildings is looking into their complaints.

The $52.5 million building is slated to open in 2012 and will have a sanctuary, classrooms, an auditorium and fellowship hall for large gatherings.

The massive structure is part of Redeemer’s 10-year, $20 million expansion campaign, which aims to “serve local neighborhoods with ministries of mercy and outreach,” according to Redeemer’s website.

Should the church be allowed to build such a massive structure? Are neighbors making much ado about nothing? Share your comments below.

Watch & Listen LIVE