2009 -- Undated, stock photo of hands in prayer, for...

2009 -- Undated, stock photo of hands in prayer, for story on retreats. Credit: photos.com/photos.com

Some West Babylon residents are fighting the establishment of a Jehovah's Witness meeting hall in their neighborhood, but neither the law, kindness or common sense are on their side.

The neighborhood is residential, but reasonably sized religious halls are an allowed use of residential property. The Town of Babylon is dotted with churches nestled between homes. The Jehovah's Witness plan calls for a 3,900-square-foot building on a single-acre parcel on Forest Avenue that the town had already approved for a four-house subdivision. The building would have a 168-person capacity and 55 parking spots, and is meant to accommodate and combine the current Babylon and Lindenhurst congregations, a total of about 90 people. Congregation representatives say the facility would not be rented out or used for social events, beyond an occasional wedding.

The complaint voiced by some residents that they merely fear increased traffic doesn't mesh with comments made at public meetings calling the church a "cult" and worrying that children will be corrupted. The parcel is a brambly and overgrown eyesore located within a few hundred yards of two elementary schools, each of which creates a much larger volume of traffic than the Jehovah's Witness facility ever will.

Neighbors aren't likely to be able to block the plan to build this place of worship. More important, they have the neighborly responsibility to stop trying. hN