News Column

Church, tattoo parlor, music venue in C.P. given extension

June 24, 2014

By Phil Wieland, The Times, Munster, Ind.

June 24--CROWN POINT -- It has taken the RAW Church a lot longer than members expected to open, church spokesman Lisa Bostick told the city's Board of Zoning Appeals on Monday.

When the BZA approved the variance needed to open the combined church, tattoo parlor and music venue in an industrially zoned district at 901 Summit St. in December, church officials expected to open in January. Bostick said it still is not open and no new opening date is set.

One of the conditions of the variance was that the church return to the BZA in six months to report whether it was handling noise, security and crowd issues properly. Bostick said the church had to retain an architect to properly design the interior of the building. That wasn't done until March, but the design is complete and the church is getting bids for the work, she said.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Christopher Meyers suggested allowing the church to come back six months after receiving its occupancy permit. Board member Alda Vellutini said she thought the site was supposed to be temporary, and the church would be looking for a new location.

Bostick said the church wants to use the site until it outgrows it. The building can hold 221 people, and Vellutini said the parking lot for the building already is full. Bostick said the church has an agreement to use the parking lot when it is not being used by other businesses. Meyers said church officials originally said they expected the building to serve about three years, but no deadline was set for when they would have to move.

Bostick said the plan is, once the church outgrows the building, to continue to use it for retail space and the tattoo parlor. Board member John Marshall said the church has met all the city's requirements, and it takes time to get all the permits needed to build. The BZA approved Meyers' suggestion of bringing the church back six months after the occupancy permit is issued. The vote was 3-1, with Chairman Daniel Rohaley opposed and member Vern Segert absent.

The music events and the tattoo parlor are part of the church's mission to reach out to people, officials said in December. The music events will feature local and national touring bands, and the church will be soundproofed. A zero tolerance policy against the use of alcohol, drugs and fighting would be in effect.

About 30 people attended the meeting to protest a request by I-65 Properties LLC for a special use permit to build a gasoline service station at 698 Burrell Drive. They came armed with a petition, traffic counts and groundwater analysis, but the protest was temporarily thwarted by a letter late Monday afternoon to Meyers' office asking that the request be deferred to the July meeting. The request was approved 3-1, with Marshall opposed.


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Source: Times (Munster, IN)

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