The state Commonwealth Court will hear oral arguments next week in the appeal to preserve an old Catholic church that was formerly owned by AIDS agency Siloam.
The old Church of the Assumption is located at 1123-33 Spring Garden St. It was built in 1848 and has ties to two local saints, John Neumann and Katharine Drexel.
But almost 20 years ago, it was closed by the Archdiocese due to a sharp decline in parishioners, and it’s been vacant since then.
The Callowhill Neighborhood Association wants the church preserved as an important part of the city’s heritage.
But the city is seeking permission for its demolition, contending the dilapidated structure is in danger of collapse.
Arguments on the dispute are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 10 at the Widener Building, 1339 Chestnut St., ninth floor.
Each side will have up to 10 minutes to argue the case.
A three-judge panel will hear the case, but their names weren’t released at presstime.
Siloam owned the church for about six years, prior to selling the property to developers John Wei and Mika He in July 2012.
Siloam continues to operate in an old Catholic rectory adjacent to the church.
Conshy challenge continues
James D. Schneller is continuing to pursue his challenge of Conshohocken’s LGBT-inclusive antibias ordinance, which was enacted in April 2011.
Schneller contends the ordinance violates state and federal laws that protect religious freedoms.
He also claims Conshohocken Borough Council discriminated against him as a Christian by not letting him speak at two council meetings in 2011.
On Aug. 21, a three-judge panel of Commonwealth Court dismissed Schneller’s challenge as meritless.
But on Sept. 30, Schneller filed a petition asking the court to reconsider its dismissal.
Borough solicitor Michael J. Savona said he doesn’t plan to file a response to Schneller’s latest petition.
“I see no compelling arguments from Schneller that would cause me to believe this case is appropriate for the court to reconsider its decision,” Savona told PGN. “I believe the court will dismiss his petition.”
Schneller couldn’t be reached for comment.
Schneller initially challenged the ordinance in Common Pleas Court, but that challenge was dismissed in March 2012. He subsequently appealed to state Commonwealth Court, where the matter remains pending.
The ordinance at issue grants civil-rights protections to LGBTs and other groups in the areas of housing, employment, public education and public accommodations.
Violators face a fine of $500 — and up to 90 days in jail — for each offense.
— Timothy Cwiek Liberty conf. at Penn
Students For Liberty will host the Philadelphia Regional Conference from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 5 at the University of Pennsylvania.
The conference will include speakers such as Institute for Justice senior attorney Clark Neily and ChoiceMediaTV executive director Bob Bowdon.
More than 100 students from across the country are expected to attend to discuss the libertarian movement. Similar conferences will be held across the country through December.
The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, visit http://studentsforliberty.org .
— Angela Thomas