Sunday, May 6, 2007

Not In My Backyard You Won't - Neighbors in Maplewood Opposed to Nun's Proposal

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Tranquil Maplewood, is again (Round 3,439) the site of controversy at City Hall.

For more than 40 years, scores of Benedictine nuns lived a quiet monastic existence in Maplewood largely unnoticed -- until they recently decided to downsize.

Now neighbors are raising a ruckus over the nuns' plans to move out of St. Paul's Monastery, which is too big for their dwindling numbers, and make way for an emergency shelter for women and children and affordable housing for seniors and families. A standing-room crowd jammed a Maplewood Planning Commission meeting on the issue in March, and city officials expect an even larger crowd to square off in the Community Center Theater before a scheduled City Council vote on Monday.

About 100 residents have submitted a petition opposing the development, saying they are concerned that the project will result in increasing traffic, decreasing property values and rising crime.

Organizers of the opposition didn't return phone calls, but their petition points out that 1,000 students are enrolled in the nearby Hill-Murray School and that the neighborhood includes "young and not so young women who enjoy walking in the evening or early morning."How responsible will you feel on the day we learn that one of us, a student or neighbor, has become a victim[?]," the petition asks. [...Snip] StarTribune

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