by Steven Ertelt
February 14, 2006
Deer Park, NY (LifeNews.com) — A New York town’s pro-abortion may force a crisis pregnancy center there that helps women find abortion alternatives to close its doors. The town of Babylon, New York, east of New York City, says The Life Center of Long Island may have to close up shop because it doesn’t have enough parking spaces.
The director of the center is charging the town with bias but the town says its actions are strictly business.
Town officials say The Life Center does not meet the minimum requirement of 14 parking spaces, as it has just seven spots available. The number of parking places a business is required to have depends upon the size of the property and the type of business.
The Life Center filed an appeal with the down after officials denied them permission for a variance to avoid meeting the requirements.
"It’s simply discrimination because of the kind of work we do," Life Center executive director Lorraine Gariboldi told Newsday.
However, Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone told the newspaper that the pro-life work of the center had no impact on the decision. He indicated he didn’t think the zoning board would approve the variance because it normally approves exceptions when a business is a few spaces short, not when it has half the number of spaces it needs.
"You can’t treat them differently than anyone else," Bellone told Newsday, saying the variance would create a precedent. "No one is being singled out."
However, Life Center officials, in their appeal, noted the town has approved other variances for businesses with fewer than half the required parking spots. It noted a local church and a physical therapy office were both granted exemptions.
Zoning board chairman Thomas Young told Newsday that had that information been presented with its original request for the variance in August that it may have been granted.
Town officials were only alerted to the lack of parking spaces after a neighbor complained that staff and clients were parking in her driveway but Gariboldi said that happened only one and by mistake.
She indicated the center would have to close if it loses the variance, according to a town inspector.
Related web sites:
Life Center of Long Island – https://www.lifecenterli.org