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Westchester Residents Fight Plans For Huge New Church On Busy Road

Church Says Building New Structure Has Turned Out To Be Best Idea

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PURCHASE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Residents of the Westchester County hamlet of Purchase have taken on a church’s big plans to build a new sanctuary on several acres of land in the heart of a residential neighborhood.

As CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, residents said a busy two-way residential road in the Purchase section of Harrison will be even busier if a proposed church is built on a 6 1/2-acre parcel of land.

“It baffles my mind why anybody would want to put a building of that size on a quiet road,” said Jan Linhart of Purchase.

Trinity Presbyterian Church owns three plots of land here and wants to build a 26,000 square-foot facility with a 130 parking spaces to accommodate their growing congregation.

Church spokesman Geoff Thompson said the church considered other areas, and even other existing facilities.

“We’ve explored extensively over the past more than 10 years and concluded the best thing to do — the most viable approach — is to build a church from scratch,” Thompson said.

But residents said the planned church is simply too big for the area and will bring noise, traffic and more people to an already busy part of town.

“I would think that you would want to be in an area which is easily accessible — cars can come and go instead of being in a one-lane, small country road,” Linhart said.

“There are blind spots there. There are accidents galore there. It’s a terrible location to have this church,” added resident Betsy Schaper.

Much to the disappointment of residents, the Harrison Planning Board took a small step forward with the plan, ordering the church to address the residents and city’s concerns.

“We think it’s a good plan,” Thompson said. “It’s a place to start. The environmental review is exactly what is being conducted right now.”

It could take several years before construction begins, but residents say they will fight this every step of the way.

The church currently rents space, and holds its worship services at the School of the Holy Child in the town of Harrison.