Jehovah's Witness worship center zoning rejected

Perkins residents, trustees oppose rezoning for church
Andy Ouriel
Sep 12, 2013
Perkins Township trustees rejected a proposed zoning change that would have ushered in the construction of a Jehovah’s Witness worship center at 1804 Hull Road.

In reaching their 3-0 decision, trustees largely depended upon input from dozens of residents fiercely opposed to a $750,000 church in a neighborhood behind Meijer.

The vote also upheld an earlier ruling by the Perkins zoning appeals board.

“Residents in our community have resoundingly told me they are opposed to the rezoning of this parcel of land,” trustee Tim Coleman said. “I myself have no leanings (either way), but I have to listen to what my electors have told me.”

Hull Road residents Denny and Connie Link were among those who offered opinions influencing Coleman and fellow trustees Jeff Ferrell and Mike Printy.

The Links, two of about 75 people at Tuesday’s public forum at Township Hall, bought their “dream house” about a month ago so their four children can visit and impending grandchildren can play. But immediately after signing a deed, they discovered plans for a Jehovah’s Witness church, at 1804 Hull Road, abutting their property.

Denny, visibly distraught when talking to trustees about the possible zoning change, opposed the plans mainly because of noise, traffic and flooding concerns resulting from a church.

He also said if the church somehow goes under, prospective homeowners wouldn’t buy the 3-acre church property, and nearby property values would nosedive.

Denny echoed many of the main talking points concerning area residents.

“Both me and my wife are very happy,” Denny said after the forum. “We can live in peace now and not have to worry about getting hit by the extra traffic.”

Of those voicing opposition against the church’s building plans, not a single person slammed Jehovah’s Witness religious beliefs.

A contingent of Jehovah’s Witnesses gave an in-depth presentation explaining the benefits of their proposed worship center.The group was captained by elder C. David Dunn, who said other worshipers built a “Kingdom Hall” in an Oak Harbor neighborhood without any resistance.

That worship center helped raise area property values, thereby increasing the community’s tax base, and it has not caused any traffic problems, Dunn said.

Perkins residents, he said, could experience similar benefits.

Despite blessings from Erie County’s planning and engineer’s offices, trustees — the highest authority in allowing a proposed zoning change in the township — decided to halt any church building plans on Hull Road.

“We are disappointed,” Dunn said. “We appreciate you hearing us and our presentation and we respect the comments that were made by everyone here, even those who did not support what we are interested in.”

Township officials said they’re willing to help area Jehovah’s Witnesses find land properly zoned for a worship facility, possibly somewhere on Strub Road or on an agricultural plot.

Comments

2cents

No disrespect to any church but in my eyes they are not the neighborhood churches of yesteryear. You can see what happens when the Chapel on Galloway road lets out, there is a huge traffic issue. These facilities may want to look for at lease commercial zoned property for their needs. Just my 2cents on this one!

The Answer Person

Good point NO ONE complained when the Chapel wanted to open their extravaganza on Galloway road...can you guess why?

brassman

The Chapel wasn't built in the middle of an upscale neighborhood. It's across the street from another church, a school, and Government offices. So, what's your guess at why?

The Answer Person

A house overlooking the back of a departement store and a hotel parking lot is FAR from "upscale".

brassman

You still haven't told us why you think no one opposed The Chapel

The Answer Person

.

brassman

It doesn't matter what is near the neighborhood. The houses in that neighborhood are definitely upscale. They wanted to build the worship center in the neighborhood not next to it. I don't blame them for opposing the zoning change.

Hmmm...

You may want to check out why The Chapel is built in Huron Township not Perkins before you make more guesses and unsubstantiated innuendo's.

bayshore

The statement "in an Oak Harbor neighborhood" is misleading. The church is located next to a sports medical facility across from the county fairgrounds on Rt 163 2 miles east of the village.

Centauri

NIMBY!

Rationally Speaking

"... not a single person slammed Jehovah’s Witness religious beliefs." Why is this important? Hope they find a place for their new home.

Concerned about traffic for 15 minutes after a service at The Chapel is less than Milan Road and Perkins Avenue On Friday nights and Saturdays, Cedar Point & Kalahari traffic, Christmas shopping season. How about Route 4 at shift change?

The Chapel extravaganza supports many charities in the area helping those less fortunate. It also must fill a need due to the attendance and "traffic issues". Why don't you come visit?

The Answer Person

We can get coffee at more convenient coffee shops and hear cover bands elsewhere too, but thanks!

Contango

Gotta think that if it were Moslems wanting to build a mosque that the word "discrimination" would be flying.

Problem: As a not-for-profit, ya just took the property off the real estate tax rolls.

Many communities have ordinances limiting the number of churches, just for those very tax reasons.

HoraceMann

If it were a mosque, it wouldn't be Erie County.

JJ2014

Local residents wondering what it is like to get in a dispute with the JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES over zoning and real estate issues should take a look at the court case summaries posted at

jwemployees.bravehost.com/NewsReports/2016.html

Readers will be both shocked at educated at what those court cases reveal.

starryeyes83

AS long as JW's / LDS don't come knocking on my door or try shoving their Watchtower at me. I don't care what they do .

They believe there's only room for 144,000 in Heaven.

They must have a turnstile with a counter there to keep track.

Contango

Re: "144,000"

According to LK 17:21: "The kingdom of God is within you."

You can see where it might get a little crowded. :)

Wonder if they donate their halls for blood drives?

Truth or Dare

Scripture states that 12,000 from each Tribe will be taken. That's the 12 Tribes of the Nation of Israel, the nation God favored. That's where the 144,000 come from and to be followed by a multitude of souls.

booster

The article mentions the neighbor, Denny Link. Does this guy also realize that at this house he bought a month ago, the property on the other side is planned for a new fire station?
The township bought that property back in 2003 (10 years ago) from the same people who are wishing to sell to the JW's.
The current fire station sits on Rt 250 but the city has that up for sale, Let's face it, that RT 250 property would be better suited as a restaurant or retail. As such, it could bring a nice price.

He may like the fact that his next neighbors will be the same guys who can put out his fire, should he ever need it but till then, he will soon get a chance to hear their sirens for every run and any time of the day or night.

Personally, I can not understand why we have not yet seen a road from either side of Meijer lead directly back to Hull Rd? When the fire dept comes, I expect that the Meijer entrance with Steak and Shake will come all the way through. It just makes sense.

VOTENO

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HoraceMann

Sure. Just what 250 needs. More retail and another chain restaurant.

HoraceMann

Defensible decision, for the wrong reasons. "...trustees largely depended upon input from dozens of residents fiercely opposed..". If true, too bad. Reason, principle, and law are better than mob rule.

It would have been nice if the article had been researched enough to explain the zoning situation. But why bother? "He said, she said" sells more papers.

The property in question and the two houses flanking it are zoned "rural residential, which is a little odd for an area with adjoining commercial, office and multi-family (sic) zoning.

Mr. Link should enjoy his peace while he can, because he could wake up one morning to office buildings going up on the other side of his house, and that won't take a zoning change.

Ref:

http://www.eriecounty.oh.gov/ind...

Nemesis

Two Ohio cities, Mayfield Hts and Euclid have both learned hard lessons about refusing such zoning requests. The Supreme Court ruled in the Mayfield Hts. case that such refusals can only be based on actual threats to public health or safety, which doesn't include public sentiment, and awarded the property owner damages that almost bankrupted the city, for dragging the battle out so long. That's what prompted Euclid to settle with the church that wanted rezoning in their city.

BooBeeDoo'

Nemesis: There were many suits and ties at the meeting representing the Jesovah Witnesses. They had a well orchestrated and well planned out answer for everything. I'm guessing you are right on track with their next plan of attack.What I find disturbing is that they will not even say the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the meeting.Also, their religion does not allow them to vote. Yet, they come to Perkins Township asking for our trustees to vote (for a zoning change)kind of hypocritical in my eyes. I applaud our trustees and zoning commission for listening to their constituents...I also found it disturbing to here the reps say that the zoning classification would revert back to R1 if the church were to move. What in the hell is that all about? That beautiful neighborhood would be left with an asphalt parking lot and a vacant out of place building!There are homes in every direction of that land. R1 is the correct classification for that land.It should never be rezoned to PUD.

Nemesis

What's your problem with them not saying the Pledge of Allegiance? This is a free country, Senator McCarthy.

I'm pretty sure they are allowed to vote, but there's no reason they can't petition the government - that IS an inalienable right in this country.

Listening to constituents is fine, but this is a Constitutional republic, where certain rights may not be violated no matter how many constituents desire it. Unless the township can show a material threat to public health or safety, they have the right to use their property as they see fit.

This is just like the vacation rental situation in Sandusky. People need to realize that their control ends at their property line. It's none of your business how your neighbor uses their property unless the externalities of their chosen use materially violate your rights, and if that happens, there are other laws in place to deal with it.

BooBeeDoo'

Nemisis:(Voting and Pledge of Allegiance)
Because of John 17:14 and other passages in the Bible. In that verse, Jesus says of his followers: "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." Jehovah's Witnesses have interpreted that statement as a call to remain neutral in all political matters. (In some of the sect's literature, members are described as "representatives of God's heavenly kingdom"; they are thus obligated to stay out of local political affairs in keeping with the behavior of ambassadors.) Witnesses also refrain from serving in the military, running for public office, and pledging allegiance to the flag. Voting is not expressly prohibited, but is discouraged.
I gave my opinion and stand by it. Having ANY type of church on that lot would ruin the integrity of the neighborhood. The houses to the east,west, north and south are not just houses. They are people's homes!
Historically, JW have filed several civil liberties lawsuits. It will be their perogative to do the same here. However, they are then planting a seed in the community that they will damned well do what they want to do and not listen to the majority. Is this the message you would want to send to Perkins Township?
The Zoning Commission voted unanimously to oppose, as well as the trustees and numerous signatures, calls and emails from residents opposing that site.

Nemesis

Thanks for the voting clarification.

"would ruin the integrity of the neighborhood" sounds a LOT like the typical reaction when minorities move in, and is not a legally valid objection. A lot of people live next door to churches, and that stretch of Hull Rd. has other non-residential uses, such as a care facility, medical offices, etc.

As for not listening to the majority, the majority is often composed of idiots who spend their time listening to the prognostications of honey boo boo and other stars of freak show reality TV. This is the USA, founded on the principle that we all have certain inalienable rights not to listen to the majority.

There are LOTS of things I might not want next door, but it's not my choice to make.

The legislatures of most southern states voted unanimously to retain slavery at one time, with the enthusiastic support of their constituents. The majority can't have everything they want.

BooBeeDoo'

Nemesis:I resent your insinuations. The fact of the matter is that any race, creed or color would be welcomed into the neighborhood...as long as it is in a residential HOUSE, not a building and asphalt parking lot.
It has nothing to do with your skewed reasoning. Many of the signatures on the OPPOSED petition included doctors, lawyers, businessmen and other professionals. So, if you think that they are of the Honey Boo Boo mentality maybe you should start watching also.

Nemesis

You're not reading for comprehension. No one is insinuating that those opposing this are racist, or honey boo boo fans. The point is that very often, the majority IS either or both these things, and if we were to apply your strict majoritarian thinking, such people would hold sway more often than not in our country, i.e. be careful what you wish for, because if we are to be governed by majoritarianism, you very likely will eventually find your rights curtailed at the behest of honey boo boo fans.

This country was founded on the principle of individual rights that take precedence over the will of the majority. Your, or the township majority therefore don't get to impose your esthetic preferences upon how other people use the property on which they spend their hard earned money.

Consider this, many JW kingdom halls are not much larger in square footage than an upscale home, partially because they have a tradition of building them, start to finish, in one day. They could very easily build a home there with a REALLY large living room and meet the current zoning, let their pastor or other leader live there, add a tennis court or two which they could use for parking when the occupant of the house holds weekly "prayer meetings" and there wouldn't be a thing you could do about it.

If their hall causes undue noise, drainage problems, sanitation problems, or otherwise materially infringes on the legitimate rights of neighboring homeowners (which do NOT include a right to esthetic approval of what's going on next door) then there are laws to deal with that. If not, then everyone needs to stop being un-American busybodies and mind their own business.

I've got neighbors who conform completely to our single family residential zoning, but who's degenerate cultural values make them more of an offensive blight on the neighborhood than a church like this will ever be, but I accept that, in a free country, I have to live with that.

BooBeeDoo'

Nemisis:Let the name of Nemisis be stricken from every book and tablet, stricken from all pylons and obelisks, stricken from every monument. Let the name of Nemesis be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of men for all time.

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