City Attorney Anthony Casale and Building Inspector D. Robert Robbins were ready for Tuesday’s trial over the stripping of the Bleecker Square Church, but City Court Judge Vincent DeSantis granted the owners their fifth adjournment in the case.
DeSantis, basing his decision on a letter from church officials pledging to have a professional engineering study completed in the next two weeks, said it is in the best interest of all parties to give the Church of God of Prophecy time to prepare a plan the city’s Historic Preservation Review Board might approve.
DeSantis set Sept. 13 as the new trial date.
A trial was scheduled Tuesday to determine whether Church of God and its subcontractor violated the city zoning code when they removed all of the stained glass and the steeple clocks during one weekend in February and covered the gaps with fiber board.
Robbins issued five citations to the church. Under provisions of the historic district zoning code, the historic district board must approve all alterations to the exteriors of the buildings in the zone. The violations are punishable with fines of up to $50 per day per ticket.
No one representing the church attended court Tuesday. The church attorney, Concetta Lomanto, did not return a telephone call seeking comment for this story.
Casale told DeSantis he considers this latest adjournment in the case another delaying tactic.
DeSantis, noting that church officials related in the letter that they want to meet with Casale and Mayor Dayton King in the next week, said this will be the last adjournment he grants.
Church officials submitted a proposal to the historic review board in June to replace the stained glass with clear pane windows, but the board asked for specifics regarding the glass and a work schedule and the church failed to contact the board with details by the city’s July 15 deadline.
Robert Meringolo, owner of the salvage company that removed the windows, has said the stained glass will not be returned.