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DeWitt: Barricade brings forth believers

By Darryl Patteson

Members of St. Mary's Church in Jamesville asked the DeWitt Town Board to clear the police tape that has been put up to prevent the congregation from holding any more services or vigils in front of their now-closed church Monday night.

Jamesville resident Sandy Burton opened the public discussion by saying that 35 yards of yellow police tape now line the street a block from his house.

"It's not nice to have in our village," Burton said.

The town board has no control over the decision made by the Syracuse Diocese. However, Supervisor Ed Michalenko said that the police would take down the barricade if they know the parking lot will not be used as a staging ground for more demonstrations.

"It's a very unfortunate situation and there doesn't appear to be any winners," Michalenko said. "I'd like to see the Catholic Church and St. Mary's communicate and not for the town to become an intermediary between the two."

Still, the St. Mary's churchgoers would like to know how a church that is not paid for by anyone outside of St. Mary's could be taken away.

"This is still America," St. Mary's parishioner Bob Hopkins said. "How can someone say they can take what's yours and legally do it?"

Councilor and Jamesville resident Vicki Baker expressed her dislike for the use of police tape to block off the church.

"I don't believe anyone in Jamesville has committed a crime," Baker said.

Councilor Joe Simonetta tried to put the situation into the most realistic terms.

"That church won't be reopened," Simonetta said. "That's the reality unfortunately. The tape should be taken down, but the people of Jamesville should agree not to demonstrate or hold a service there."

Moratorium update

Development and Operations Commissioner Dick Robb announced that the moratorium on building in three industrial-transitional lands applies only to building that would be prevented under the new code. The Zoning Update Committee will also hope to have its maps completely updated by the end of May, according to Robb.

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