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Don't convert church to theater

Judi Murphy
44 Charlotte St., Apt B

It is a sad day for our City that a developer and "the powers that be" can negotiate behind closed doors for over a year (without the knowledge of residents) to change a church use from special to commercial.

I live in the Mazyck Wraggborough area of Charleston, a small and diversely populated area of the City. Our residents include whites and blacks of different ages, educational and economic backgrounds; we are students, families, retirees, professionals and singles. Is it because of this very diversity and uniqueness that we are not considered big enough, rich enough, or important enough to be allowed quiet enjoyment of our homes?

To propose a commercial use of a centrally located residential neighborhood church (which has held religious services for 147 years) is unconscionable. If this use is allowed, the unique character of our district will be changed forever. Think about it - a theater with Wednesday through Sunday performances. That's an estimated 1500 people coming to our neighborhood each performance week! This figure does not count staff, rehearsals, children's programs and bus traffic from all over the State. There are several commercially zoned areas of Charleston which can be utilized for a theatre. Residential neighborhoods were never intended for this use.

All residents of the City should beware. Could this happen South of Broad or in the French Quarter? According to the Visitor's Center, there are an estimated 50 churches in peninsular Charleston. Will you wake up one day to find "the powers that be" and a well respected developer in support of a nightclub, theater, restaurant or new condo complex at the church next door to you?

Please attend the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting on February 21 to help support our attempt to deny approval of this inappropriate change of use.

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