PERRY TOWNSHIP, Ind. -- A Perry Township church is hosting a community meeting to discuss its plans to build senior apartments on its property, but neighbors where say the meeting should have happened way before the construction.
One Christian Church has spent nearly $500,000 on the project so far. The sewage systems have already been permitted and installed, but the apartment project was denied by staff at the Department of Metropolitan Development.
"After a lengthy wait for submittals, Staff issued a denial. The reason for the denial is that the proposed apartments would increase the amount of accessory use (existing daycare 4 building, single-family home, existing playground and proposed apartments) on site to greater than 50% of the size of the primary use (the church building)," Andrea Watts, Chief Communications Officer for the Department of Metropolitan Development said.
Stratton says he’s filed an appeal to the decision, which will be heard in early 2019, something he didn’t include in the flyer he sent to neighbors.
Graham Hunter: “Is there any particular reason you didn’t mention that you guys are going through the appeals process right now?”
Pastor Jeff Stratton: “The plan was to tell them about the appeal process.”
RTV6 went around to neighbors around the church to find out what they thought of the planned construction, and not one person we spoke to was in favor of it.
“It’s not a place for an apartment building. This is a single level dwelling neighborhood,” Darrell Trimnell said. “Most of the people around here are not for this project to go through.”
Church leader, Pastor Jeff Stratton says he’s trying to fix that issue by holding a meeting on Sunday that will let neighbors share their concerns.
Stratton says things have been tense in the community since the project began. He said he’s even received threats over it. Back in September, he had to file a police report after someone left roofing nails at several entrances to the church’s parking lot causing nearly a dozen vehicles to have flat tires.
“We spent money we didn’t have to put in a camera system,” Stratton said. “Hopefully things have settled down a little bit emotionally.”
The church’s appeal will be heard on January 16. A spokesperson for the Department of Metropolitan Development says if denied, the church could redesign the project and bring it back for approval at a later date.
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