A battle over church, state & real estate is brewing in Echo Park

f the guidelines and make them even stronger. Those guidelines, however, would force the Foursquare Foundation, an investment fund related to the church, to shrink a more than 200-foot-long, three-story high senior housing and retirement complex it wants to build on church property across from Echo Park Lake on Glendale Boulevard. The head of the Foursquare Foundation has said he would be interested in developing other Angelus Temple and Foursquare Church properties that ring the lake. No one asked if the the church would also play the God card and seek to make itself exempt from zoning and planning codes if it attempts to developer those parcels.

The proposed housing complex would rise across the street from where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Planning Department General Manager Gail Goldberg and councilmen Eric Garcetti and Ed Reyes held a lake-side press conference last October to accept an urban planning award naming Echo Park as one of the nation’s 10 great neighborhoods in part because of its historic character. It will be interesting to see how aggressively the city will defend those historic features and its own zoning and planning laws from this religious real estate challenge.

Bottom photo from the Echo Park Historical Society.

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