Zoning board denies church request

PAT FRIDGEN

The Greencastle Zoning Hearing Board, after a second session on Feb. 4, turned down the request of First United Methodist Church to convert a church-owned duplex across the alley into a youth center. The congregation first presented its case to the board Jan. 14 after zoning officer Kenneth Womack ruled the plan was not a permitted use in the R-2 district.

ZHB solicitor Jeffrey Evans was directed to further investigate legal issues, which members Gregory Overcash, Michele Emmett and Gerald Pool took into consideration at the second session. The agreement was unanimous to uphold Womack's determination and to also deny the church's request for a variance. First United's attorney, Ed Wine, had argued the situation met the unnecessary hardship criteria of a unique physical circumstance and the new use of the structure would not be a detriment to the Madison Street area.

The board said the proposed use was not consistent with the character of the neighborhood or the R-2 zoning district.