By Susie Jones, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A 76-year-old man with a 7-foot statue of Jesus Christ in his backyard is fighting to keep it there.

Tuan Pham brought the statue here from Vietnam and it sits on a cement block overlooking the Mississippi River. But the city of St. Paul says it sits too close to the edge of the bluff and needs to be moved.

Angie Wiese, from the St. Paul zoning department, said they received a complaint about the statue.

“Any structure within 40 feet of the bluff is in violation. The statue is within 10 feet of the bluff,” she said.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Susie Jones Reports

Pham was given two choices: Move the statue, or apply for a variance, which would allow him to keep it where it is.

He applied for the variance, but was denied. Now, he plans to ask the City Council to allow the statue to remain.

Pham said he’s gotten signatures from 45 neighbors who say they support keeping the statue in its current location. Pham owned a grocery store on University Avenue for many years, and says he’s given a lot to the city. He said he hopes the council members will return the favor.

Comments (12)
  1. Joy says:

    Just another example of government trying to regulate private property.

  2. Jon says:

    There is always that one nosy neighbor who has to go and report everyone.

  3. Ed says:

    40 feet sounds like a lot of land to give up, the 45 neighbors should fight to get the use of their land back not just for the one guy.

  4. Joe says:

    So this is a “structure”? Government run amuck once again!

  5. james says:

    It’s a graven image, and so what. It would have been helpful in this story to provide why that ordinace exists in the first place.

  6. Let there be statues, sayeth the people :-) says:

    Leave the man alone!

  7. Bobby says:

    It would be interesting to hear the reasoning behind the ordinance. If the city can explain “why” it can’t be that close to the bluff, that we be great. If the city has a good reason, then great, move the statue, if not…leave the guy alone

  8. JF says:

    Although I’m a confirmed atheist, I agree absolutely that this man should be allowed to keep his statue right where it is. The set-back rules that effect every lot in the city are about keeping structures from blocking clean lines of site. A 7ft statue is neither a structure nor the least bit obtrusive, even if you don’t like statue or its meaning.

  9. Ernie Watson says:

    I wonder if it would have been reported by the one neighbor if the statue would have been a 7 foot image of a walleye? Leave the man alone!

  10. Loves Jesus says:

    Shoot who ever complained!!!!!

  11. the truth will set you free says:

    Jesus should be in his heart not his back yard

  12. just a man says:

    jesus is and should be everywhere. leave the man alone.

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