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Small Baltimore Area Congregation May Be Forced to Vacate New Premises

A small Jewish congregation in suburban Laurel may be forced to vacate its new premises because of zoning restrictions. According to the Baltimore Jewish Times, the Prince Georges County board of commissioners has ordered the Jewish Congregation of Laurel out of its recently purchased $33,000, ranch-style dwelling within 90 days. The congregation was informed of the order at Rosh Hashanah services, the first service to be held in its new synagogue.

The congregation, headed by Harry Rosenbluh, has been meeting in a community hall for the past three years. It purchased the former residence in order to have space for Sunday school classes. But neighbors complained that the synagogue’s garage has space for only two cars whereas zoning ordinances require synagogues to provide parking space for at least 20 cars. Mr. Rosenbluh said that ample parking space could be provided if a power company agreed to make available adjacent land that it owns for that purpose. The land is used for power lines and is not intended to be built on. The power company has refused so far and Mr. Rosenbluh said the congregation may appeal the county commissioners’ ruling to the circuit court.

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