Redevelopment Wrecks: New Hempstead, New York

North Hempstead, New York

St. Luke’s Pentecostal Church in North Hempstead, led by Pastor Fred Jenkins, bought a piece of property on Prospect Avenue in 1994 to build a permanent home for its congregation after saving money for more than a decade.  Although the church was meticulous in doing everything required to get the appropriate building permits, the North Hempstead Community Development Agency condemned the property for private retail development under a 1994 redevelopment designation that St. Luke’s had never even been made aware of.  The church brought a lawsuit, but the court ruled against the house of worship, allowing for the condemnation of a church for private use.  As of June 2006, the land remains vacant.[1]

[1]  Stewart Ain, “Of Spiritual vs. Urban Renewal,” The New York Times, Apr. 16, 2000, at 14LI 3; In the Matter of the Application of North Hempstead Community Redevelopment Agency, 2002 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1488, at *1-*2 (Aug. 29, 2002); Marni Soupcoff, “North Hempstead Bulldozes Constitutional Rights,”The Westbury Times (Mineola, NY), Feb. 22, 2002; Victor Manuel Ramos, “In North Hempstead: A Spiritual Homecoming Deferred; Redevelopment Claims Dream of Church’s Building,” Newsday, Feb. 4, 2001, at G17; The Kelo Decision: Investigating Taking Homes and Other Private Property: Hearing Before the Senate Comm. on the Judiciary, 109th Cong. (2005) (testimony of Pastor Fred Jenkins, St. Luke’s Pentecostal Church, North Hempstead, NY), available at: (June 16, 2006); Lesley Jenkins (brother of Pastor Jenkins), Telephone interview conducted by Justin Gelfand, June 13, 2006.