Noise from C.P. church angers residents

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Noise from C.P. church angers residents

Postby Super Fly » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:44 pm

Noise from C.P. church angers residents
BY KATHLEEN QUILLIGAN
Kathleen.Quilligan@nwitimes.com
219.662.5331 | Monday, August 18, 2008

CROWN POINT | A Crown Point church in the middle of a month-long prayer festival is at the center of a city controversy after raking in numerous complaints from neighboring residents and at least six citations from the city's police department.

The city's Board of Works will hold a special meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 101 N. East St. Members of City Council have speculated the board may vote to pull a permit it issued in July for Living Stones Fellowship, 909 N. Pratt St. to erect a tent for the month of August.

Pastor Ron Johnson Sr. and Pastor Ron Johnson Jr. did not return phone calls seeking comment.

In a letter to the city, the church said meetings are scheduled at the church from July 31 to Aug. 31 from 5:30 p.m. to about midnight.

Since July 31the church has been issued five warnings and five citations between July 31 and Aug. 10 from neighbors complaining about the noise caused by the church, according to police reports.

"For some reason they're finding it difficult to be a good neighbor in a neighborhood," said Councilwoman Carol Drasga.

From her front porch, Dana Bell can look directly at the tent set up in the church's parking lot. Because the noise gets so loud, she said the family opens the windows all day to get the house as warm as possible so when they turn on the air conditioning it at night will run at least two hours straight to drown out the noise of the church while her children fall asleep. She also runs the washer, the dryer and a fan to help drown out the noise.

"I'd never be allowed to have a party for 31 days straight in my backyard," Bell said.

In a letter to Mayor David Uran dated Aug. 7, the church acknowledges a meeting with city officials to discuss the noise issues. "As we discussed, we believe what is happening in Crown Point is a genuine move of God and that it will bring much needed revival to our community and beyond...," the letter states. The letter also says beginning Aug. 11 the meetings will move inside the church Monday through Thursday. Friday through Sunday when the meeting is scheduled to be outside, the church agreed to keep the noise between 50 and 60 decibels.

Bell said the church has not been following those guidelines.

Councilmen Bill Feder, Mark Schweitzer and Bob Clemons walked around the neighborhood Saturday night during the meeting to hear the noise level for themselves. Schweitzer said at first, the level seemed tolerable, but the more they walked and the closer they got to the church the louder it became. Feder said the three witnessed the church being issued a citation for disturbing the peace.

"I feel bad, but I don't think the city should be determining what is an acceptable nuisance," Schweitzer said.

He said he'll support the mayor whether he decides to pull the permit or give the church another chance.

"But if the permit for the tent is revoked and the church continues (the meetings outside or in the tent), what happens? Is the city willing to fight?" Schweitzer said. "It's a nightmare."
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