WASHINGTON - St. Thomas’ Parish in Dupont Circle was in the middle of building a new church when D.C. officials came in and ordered the construction to stop last month.
Rev. Alex Dyer said the work stoppage is costing the church thousands of dollars each day while the church is shut down.
“Tremendous amount of money – to the tune of at least previously about $10,000 a day,” he said. “We have made some choices to alleviate that a little bit, but the initial cost to us is huge.”
The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) told FOX 5 it had no choice but to shut down the project after reviewing a court order. The project was initially approved by the zoning board, but some neighbors took that decision to court over zoning variance issues – and they won.
“There were at least 100-plus meetings with groups of people and different people around the neighborhood,” said Rev. Dyer.
DCRA said the only way it will lift the order is if the developer and zoning board come up with a plan that complies with current zoning regulations ordered by the court.
But Rev. Dyer is not sure if his parish has the finances to last that long.
“Each day could lead to financial disaster for this parish,” he said.
They are not just building a church in this area. A developer agreed to build the new church if it gave up some of its land to build apartments and that has upset many people about this construction project.
St. Thomas’ Parish has hired lawyers hoping to get the project restarted.