MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — An open space agency has voted to thwart plans by a group of elderly nuns who want to build a monastery on a pristine ridge overlooking the ocean.
Before a packed public hearing, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District voted to take the first step toward seizing the nuns' land through eminent domain.
The crowd included nuns and several priests. Dozens of people wore badges reading, "Yes for Convent on Kings Mountain."
A lawyer for the Russian Convent of Our Lady of Vladimir called the district's opposition "outrageous."
Authorities in Russia and China had seized the nuns' land three times before they fled to the United States to escape persecution 50 years ago, attorney Colleen Doherty said.
The cloistered Russian nuns, who now live in San Francisco, say they simply want a quiet place to contemplate. They envisioned a chapel topped by an onion dome that would be visible for miles.