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Garden Grove OKs Giant Prayer Tower for the Rev. Schuller

June 23, 1987|RAY PEREZ | Times Staff Writer

The Garden Grove City Council Monday unanimously approved a plan by the Rev. Robert Schuller to build, next to the Crystal Cathedral, a crystal prayer tower and a five-story Family Life Center that Schuller said would fulfill a dream of 31 years.

"This would complete development of our campus, and I hope that I will never appear before you again," Schuller told the City Council before its vote.

Schuller, who left on a trip immediately after appearing before the council, said his current proposal would be the best possible approach to expanding the Crystal Cathedral.

The proposed construction project was originally to cost $18 million, but a Schuller spokesman said that delays have driven the cost up and that final figures have not been calculated.

Schuller said that originally his plan was to build the addition on Crystal Cathedral land. However, that project was scrapped last year when neighboring residents complained.

Schuller told the council Monday that he had secretly "rejoiced" when the original proposal was rejected by the Garden Grove Planning Commission last year because he agreed that the construction would be a burden to the neighbors.

The proposed multimillion-dollar construction project did not generate opposition at Monday night's council meeting.

Mayor Jonathan Cannon said Monday night's action had "culminated more than a year of hard work" between the city and members of the Crystal Cathedral congregation.

"One of the reasons there has been no opposition here tonight is because all of the concerns of neighbors have been addressed and met," Cannon said.

At a Planning Commission hearing on June 11, just one person voiced mild opposition to a portion of the project. The commission then approved the plan without debate and sent it to the City Council for final approval.

Schuller's latest proposal calls for demolishing an 84-unit low-income apartment complex to make way for the construction. He said all but three tenants have been relocated.

"It's nice for me to hear that they are living at better apartments and at less rent. It gives me great pride," he told council members.

The project would be built on a 26.5-acre tract next to the cathedral, on Chapman Avenue between Haster and Lewis streets. It includes construction of a 234-foot-high crystal tower. Specifications now call for the base of the giant tower to cover 1,175 square feet.

The five-story Family Life Center, which would cover slightly more than 130,00 square feet and stand 65 feet tall, would house religious classrooms, a gymnasium and a school for young pastors "of all denominations" to study broadcasting.

Schuller's "Hour of Power" syndicated weekly show would be produced at the new facilities, he said.

"It would be an instantaneous monument to brotherhood, peace and beauty," Schuller said. "I promise you the city would be proud of it."

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