Variance clears way for scientology church on Dublin Road

This Week, Ohio/April 22, 2008

The Church of Scientology has been given the go-ahead to build a new facility on Dublin Road.

Columbus City Council on Monday night voted 7-0 on a variance that will allow the organization to construct a 50,000-square-foot church in the old Time-Warner headquarters, 1266 Dublin Road, just outside of Grandview Heights.

No one spoke against the request.

"The new quarters will permit us to serve our parishioners and the community better," said Rev. John Carmichael, president of the Church of Scientology of New York. "And that's what it's all about."

He called it a "new breed of Scientology churches, which are part of the new international expansion of the church."

Demand for services has grown considerably since the church first established a center in Columbus in 1968, Carmichael said.

That downtown site simply can't accommodate staff and new parishioners, he said. Those who want to enroll in coursework or receive counseling want to do so daily but don't want to commute to Scientology centers in Cleveland and Cincinnati, he said. There will be about 75 to 100 people taking courses and receiving counseling at the Columbus church on a weekly basis, Carmichael said.

The church purchased the 5-acre property for $2.8-million and will spend about $4-million renovating the site, Carmichael said. Ground will be broken next spring and construction should be completed by the end of next year.

Meeting space will be available for community groups in the area. Sports facilities will not be part of the new building.

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