A year after St. Saviour’s Church and Parsonage were taken over by a developer with plans to demolish them and build on the grounds, the structures are still standing and the property remains a green space. This is due to JPCA’s tireless effort to preserve one of the last vestiges of 19th century Maspeth. Getting DEP and DOB to take notice and shut the developer down, holding a rally and a press conference, numerous landmarking attempts, increasing public awareness and confronting the developer’s attorney at the community board were all part of this effort, which have caused the owner to place the property on the market.
The most instrumental pieces of the puzzle thus far have been the temporary restraining order and court case argued on our behalf by attorney Marc Bresky. You may have heard in the press that the case was dismissed and the TRO was lifted. While these are true, we want you to know that the legal battle is far from over. Mr. Bresky believes that Judge Patricia Satterfield went too far in declaring that the restrictive covenant was voided when the Episcopal Church sold the parcel to a Korean Methodist church in 1997. He has submitted a letter from the Episcopal Diocese which states that their transference of the property to another church was done in order to keep it a holy place as directed by the deed. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office also has told the court that they never would have approved of the sale of the church to the developer had they been aware of the existence of the restrictive covenant. During Mr. Spitzer's gubernatorial administration, we hope he will continue to work with us to right this wrong done to our community.
As we enter 2007, rest assured that JPCA is not giving up this fight. This is part of our war on overdevelopment. We are confident that when the smoke clears, we will be the ones left standing, celebrating under the shade trees in St. Saviour’s churchyard.