“Tears of joy” is how Mary Ellen Gadski described her reaction to the Metropolitan Development Commission’s 4-3 vote to deny Mann Properties’ petition to rezone 70 acres of Crown Hill Cemetery land to allow commercial and residential development. Gadski is a member of the Alliance of Crown Hill Neighbors (www.allianceofcrownhillneighbors.org), a group that formed to oppose the development of the woodlands and wetlands at the cemetery’s north boundary along West 42nd Street at Michigan Road.
The well-attended Public Assembly Room of the City-County Council Building erupted in cheers and applause from over 100 alliance supporters when the vote total was announced after nearly two hours of testimony from both sides — and a number of questions from commissioners.
Keith Norwalk, president of Crown Hill, expressed his disappointment with the decision, citing the months of effort put in, and saying that Crown Hill’s executive committee would have to reconsider what to do about the land.
Alliance supporters testified that local and national organizations have expressed interest in raising funds to purchase and preserve the natural, undeveloped area. The alliance hopes to work with Crown Hill and potential buyers to maintain the land as a “cultural and educational resource.”