Neighbors lose chapel dispute with Catholic high school–guess they should've prayed harder

Several neighbors of an all-male Catholic high school failed last week to stop a chapel from getting the county’s blessing.

Jesuit High School in Carmichael won Sacramento County Planning Commission approval in June for its long-gestating construction project, which, aside from a new place of worship, also proposes a new entryway into the college preparatory school.

Nearby residents in Arden Arcade claimed installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Mission Avenue, Lantern Court and Fair Oaks Boulevard would stymie access to and from their neighborhood. They also want the 73-foot-high chapel built deeper into the ground than planned and for an attached cross to remain unlit, among other things.

The county tallied four letters from residents asking the board of supervisors to overturn project approval on grounds that it violated the California Environmental Quality Act. But, after a lengthy public hearing on July 30, supervisors unanimously upheld their commission’s earlier action.

That confirmation came more than two years after Jesuit officials initially pitched their chapel plan, which officials sent back for environmental review in July 2011.

Attorney Don Mooney, representing the man who filed both the initial appeal in 2011 and this year’s version, told supervisors the neighborhood has existing compliance issues with the high school and who uses its parking lots.

Referring to beliefs that future projects are being planned around campus, Mooney added that the school should bring forth a master plan that covers them all.

“The neighborhood feels a bit like they’re being piecemealed,” he said.

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