Court Says Condos Trump Prayer

Here's one thing you can't landmark: a church. So says a 1994 state law that exempts religious organizations from having their buildings landmarked by the government if such designation would cause "substantial hardship."

That's apparently what would have happened to First St. John's United Methodist Church in Nob Hill if the city had succeeded in landmarking the building as the only California work of a well-known church architect.

The usual reason for the proposed designation applied: in 2005, after having not used the structure for religious services for several years, the church decided to sell the land to be turned into a 27-unit condo building.

Then came the motion to landmark the church, and just recently, the court ruling that the church can go, because, well, it's a church, and they're exempt. Condos it is!

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