Chapel of Junk?
Cathedral of Junk is back in business, sort of
The saga of the Cathedral of Junk seems finally to have reached a resolution. On Nov. 16, the city of Austin announced a deal letting Vince Hannemann keep the giant structure of found artifacts he built in his backyard – on the condition that he limits public access. Hannemann and the city have been at war over the South Austin landmark since last spring, when the Public Assembly Code Enforcement unit ordered Hannemann to address some serious health and safety issues (see "One Man's Junk ...," March 26). However, there were broader concerns about how many visitors the cathedral attracted to the neighborhood. Negotiations turned bitter when he claimed that the city was destroying the artistic integrity of the project, and he even briefly threatened to demolish it completely. The structural problems have been fixed since then, and the city issued a building permit on Sept. 24. City Planning and Development Review Department spokesperson Sylvia Arzola said, "We wanted to clarify that, yes, he does have a building permit, but there are conditions attached." The final agreement prevents Hannemann from opening the cathedral to tourists but does allow a small number of special events, such as weddings.