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Location: Albany, New York, United States

CONSERVATIVE ROW C FOR MAYOR CITY OF ALBANY NY November 5, 2013 Election U S Navy Veteran BS Geography, U Wisconsin (Korean GI Bill) MA Geography, U Minnesota (National Fellowship) 30 years as founder and president, Buckingham Pond/ Crestwood Neighborhood Assoc. maintaining/improving neighborhood residential integrity and quality of life. Leadership resulted in creation of Buckingham Pond Park in 1993-94, as well as many other open spaces. See for list of leadership results. Neighborhood website: see also:

Sunday, March 08, 2015



RE: Case # 1-15,4230


Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Albany City Hall
Board Caucus, 5:00 pm
City Court Room 209
Regular Meeting, 5:45 pm
Common Council Chambers

2. Case # 1-15, 4230
Property Address:

736-760 New Scotland Ave.
Applicant: Bethany Reformed

Representing Agent: 

Donald S. Pangburn, Esq.
Zoning District: R-1B

 (Single-Family Medium-
Density Residential)
Request: Interpretation (ยง375-25B)

to determine if a community service
ministry that will serve the needs of
the homeless families and
be administered by Family Promise
of the Capital Region is consistent 
with the use of the property
as a house of worship.

The above description of the
BZA hearing question is not

Refer to the Bethany Application
and supporting documents:
The Appeal  dated 12/15/14 
in this matter asks
the BZA to rule that the use of
church property at 738 New Scotland
Ave, as a hub for operation of
homeless social services program by
Family Promise of the Capital
Region, a 501 (c) 3 Not for Profit
Corporation, headquartered at 533
Clinton Ave, Albany,
is a permitted use in an R-1b
single family zone.
The City of Albany  already has
correctly, determined that the 
answer is NO, 
and denied the Bethany.
Refer to City letters dated 11/20/14
and 12/8/14 .

The property at issue is  the
single family dwelling at 738
New Scotland Ave which has served
as the residence of pastors and
their families since the founding
of Bethany Reformed Church in 1953.

The single family dwelling vacant
because the present Pastor has
purchased a retirement home
elsewhere, and has assumed
the role of guardian for a six
year old girl, the child of a friend.
(Refer to Bethany Reformed
Church for verification) 
The Family Promise Homeless
Program is a social  services
program NOT a ministry of
Bethany Church.
The single family dwelling at
738 New Scotland Ave would serve
as a "hub" for a much larger
operation that would include
housing homeless at Mater Christi
and St Sophia's Churches  and
a number of other churches
synagogues in the city and

One might speculate that
eventually, Family Promise
will take over Bethany 
at 760 New Scotland Ave
and  the large parking lot.

A church without significant
income, a dwindling membership
and a retiring pastor is not in
a position to undertake a "new
homeless ministry".
Furthermore, the annual rent
Family Promise has agreed to
pay Bethany, part of which will
go to finance the Pastor's new
retirement home, will do little
to keep Bethany Church afloat.
The Bethany Application makes
a  veiled threat to invoke The
Federal Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act
(RLUIPA) to strong arm a
fearful BZA into granting a
land use variance or special
permit  for the Family Promise
plan to use 738 New Scotland
Ave as hub for their homeless
social services program.
The Law is not to be used as a weapon
to subvert the U S Constitution, 10 th
Approval of the Bethany-Family
Promise scheme would have an
transformational impact on this
and adjacent single family zoned
residential neighborhoods, not
only in the City of Albany.
ultimately  but in adjacent 
suburban Towns in Albany
County, the property tax bases
and financial solvency of all. 

The BZA has  compelling
reasons for upholding the
City Zoning Code and DENYING
the Bethany-Family Promise
Application APPEAL for an
In particular negative impact
of approving this application appeal 
on the residential integrity/quality 
of life, and home values in the
BPCNA neighborhood, one of
the few remaining  city prime residential
neighborhoods which pays the lion's share
of the property taxes that support
the city government services
and city schools. 
Albany is a cash strapped city
on the verge of insolvency.

The current city administration
is grasping for financial life
lines to keep the city afloat,
including installing red traffic
light cameras and turning city
finances over to the Governor's
Financial Review Board, both
acts of financial desperation 

So, now the BZA is going to
approve a use variance or 
special use .permit for a social 
program that will destroy the city
property tax base?
BZA granting Bethany-Family
Promise a use variance or use
permit to operate what is clearly
a social services program in a
vacant single family dwelling
in this R-1 single family residential
district ,that pays the lion's share
of proprty taxes that support city
schools and city government services
would be an irresponsible failure
of the BZA whose function is to
uphold the Albany City Zoning Code
and maintain the neighborhood 
residential integrity/quality of
life of this and similarly zoned
single family districts, which in
turn, serves to protect the city
property tax base and support for
city schools/city government services.
DENY The Bethany-Family Promise
Application for a use permit or
use variance for 738 New Scotland
Failure to do so, will put the
City of Albany on a non reversible
fast track to becoming Detroit on
the Hudson.

The City of Albany would be
committing Hari Kari.

Charity begins at home. The first
ministry of any church or synagogue
is to the residents of the neighborhood
wherein those Houses of Worship are

Residents of the BPCNA neighborhood
and similarly zoned single family 
neighborhoods in the City of Albany
hopefully will contact the Mayor
and BZA, today, Monday and
Tuesday, March 8,9 and 10

BZA  Brad Glass Tel. 445 0754

Mayor Sheehan  Tel  434 5100
                              Fax 434 5013


 and file statements for
the hearing record, OPPOSING
the Bethany-Family Promise
Application  and calling upon
the Mayor and BZA to DENY the
Application  for an "Interpretation"
would would amount to granting
a use variance or special use
permit to Bethany-Family Promise
contrary to the intent and purpose
of the Albany City Zoning Code 

Also, contact the Pastors of Mater
Christi and St Sophia's- tell them to
WITHDRAW from participation
in the Family Promise homeless
social services program because
of the adverse impact it will have
on this neighborhood, the city
city schools, and ultimately on
the futures of their own churches.

                                  Joe Sullivan
PS: Click on this link
to put all this in perspective
lots of homeless to care
for......... until lifeboat America
is swamped and we all go down 
in a raging sea of world poverty

Monday, February 23, 2015


That's  a HUD Promise

Musical rendition courtesy Rusty  Humphries

                            Jose Sullivan


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