By JASON JACOBS
The petition to rezone the Family Worship Center of Wabash Valley was the main topic of discussion at the City of Brazil Plan Commission met Thursday night in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
The Light House Mission in Terre Haute wants to turn the worship center into a thrift store similar to the one in Terre Haute, selling clothing for about five cents on the dollar.
When the topic was opened for public comment, every comment from members of the community was against the rezoning.
Some of the community expressed interest in why this particular building was the choice for a thrift store when there are so many other vacant buildings in the city.
Rev. Timothy Fagg of the Light House Mission said one of the biggest reasons was the amount of parking to be available. Using one of the vacant buildings on National Ave. would only provide a few spaces for customers to park, while the church provides far more spaces to park. Rev. Fagg was not aware of public parking lots in town.
Pastor Larry Richmond of the worship center informed the community that was in attendance that they attempted to sell the church to other congregations, but the interest was not there for the asking price, and that the Light House Mission signed on for a one year lease with an option to buy. If the Light House Mission were to back out after the one year, ownership would return to the worship center.
Members of the community also made comments stating that they had not been notified about the rezoning, although Pastor Richmond said he sent secretaries and volunteers to notify all that needed to be notified. According to rezoning ordinances, the church only had to notify properties directly adjacent to the church.
The public also voiced concern over past experiences when the building was an alternative school, and trash became a problem.
There was some skepticism that the church would actually be turned into a thrift store. Some believed the church would actually be turned into a food pantry/homeless shelter. If this were the case, a rezoning meeting would not be needed.
The public was also concerned over turning part of the Historical District into a retail store.
The church building was completed in 1919, but it was not known for sure whether the building has a historical designation.
The commission put the topic up for action. There was a suggestion to table the topic, which failed due to a lack of a second. The commission then voted unanimously to send the issue to the city council with an unfavorable recommendation. The issue now moves on to the Brazil City Council for consideration.
The topic of rezoning will be brought up at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
The next Plan Commission meeting will be Thursday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
If you have any questions, contact the Planning and Zoning Administrator, Brandy Means at 812-446-0050 or by e-mail at email@example.com.