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Lockport church drops lawsuit against city

LOCKPORT - Grace Episcopal Church, which sued the City of Lockport after it was denied a zoning variance for a community service center, dropped the suit last week.

Rev. Vicki Zust, a spokeswoman for the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, said the Lockport church now has "a new kind of vision for how they're going to assist the community that doesn't require a zoning variance." Zust said the plan involves creating after-school and summer enrichment programs for Lockport children in the church hall, anticipated to start next year.

The variance was needed for the proposed community service center because the church is located on Genesee Street in an area zoned for multiple dwellings. The parish proposed to convert 12,200 square feet of space in its building into the Lockport Family Center, which was intended to be a one-stop shop for low-income residents to obtain help from local human services agencies. The project was opposed by some nearby residents who worried about the availability of parking, since the church has no parking lot of its own, as well as by some members of Grace Episcopal who disagreed with the whole concept.

The city Zoning Board of Appeals rejected the church's request in a unanimous vote Feb. 23.


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