Monday, December 11, 2017
News Roundup

Clearwater approves Scientology event that could draw 8,000

CLEARWATER — On Thursday, the city approved another major Church of Scientology event that is estimated to attract 8,000 church members downtown.

The International Association of Scientologists Anniversary Weekend is slated to begin the day after Thanksgiving and run through that weekend.

The church didn't ask for any major roads to be closed and most of the activities surrounding the annual gathering of the church's powerful fundraising arm are scheduled to be held inside a large tent next to the Flag Building, which the church considers its cathedral.

The tent has been a source of tension with the city. On Wednesday, a city code board found that the church had violated the city's sign laws with a tent wrap. Church officials wouldn't comment at that hearing if they planned to put up a new wrap for the IAS celebration. The other wrap was removed Tuesday.

Christopher Hubbard, chairman of the city's special events committee, said this approval process went smoothly in part because the church didn't ask the city to close Fort Harrison Avenue, a major north-south thoroughfare.

Before the dedication of the Flag Building last week, City Manager Bill Horne said city approval of the IAS event was contingent upon the church following the conditions for its Flag Building celebration.

There were no significant incidents or rule violations last weekend.

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