Remember residents first

Published 10:11 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2018

To the editor:

City Council recently approved a conditional use permit for a 34,000-square-foot church facility to be built in the middle of a very small residential community over the objections of the vast majority of homeowners — 118 condos and 60 homes — in that community.

Granted, the current zoning allows for such a use, but there were extenuating circumstances that council did not want to hear. The master plan for this community, when first submitted by the developer, did not allow for such a facility. The developer had sold the commercial use property to another party. That party had built a nice, office-type structure, which they in turn signed a lease to a group forming a church. They evidently did not realize that there was a no church clause in the original master plan.

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That party requested the master plan be changed, and the original developer, who still had control of the master plan because the site was not fully developed, changed the plan to allow the church to lease the building. The developer did not need the homeowners’ permission to make the change. However, the early homeowners were told the master plan did not allow a church, but again, they had no say when the developer made the change.

Very few homeowners belong to this church, and most of the members do not even live in Suffolk. So I ask the council: who elected you? Whom should you put first: residents of the community or some outside group? The vote was 6-2 for the conditional use permit, and I will remember the six for as long as I reside in this city.

Another case of outsiders over residents.

David Darden

Suffolk