Hillcrest: Anger as historic homes are demolished - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hillcrest: Anger as historic homes are demolished

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Residents in Hillcrest expressed their outraged as historic homes were torn down on Friday.

Neighbors said they are furious about what has happened to a stretch of historic houses in the 3600 block of Indiana Street.

Nicole Deline lives next to the two homes owned by the St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church.

"It's extremely sad. I feel like there is nothing we can do about it now and everyday i come home and i think maybe now something we can put it back together," said Deline.

Deline and her neighbors have been fighting the demolition permits, but records show they were issued on April 3rd. Tear down began last week, and neighbors believe the church is turning the land into a parking lot.

According to the city, the church did everything by the law. Last month, CBS News 8 reported that the city attorney had granted the owner religious exemption.

Religious exemption allowed the church to demolish the non-commercial property that they no longer want or was too expensive.

"For me, I think it is horrible what has happened. What the church did by demolishing these historic homes is not only immoral, I think it is criminal in my opinion. They essentially abused a designation as religious organization to do something that would otherwise be illegal," said Jimmy Sullivan.

The church would not comment last month and on Friday, CBS News 8 reached out again, but their office was closed.

Neighbors said they will keep fighting to make sure this does not happen again.

"I think what has been lost is yet another piece of history and another element that makes up the fabric of our neighborhood," said Sullivan.

The special exemption law for religious groups passed in 1994. Preservation groups filed suit, but it was upheld by the California Supreme Court in 2000.

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