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Church gets zoning approval — but can’t grow too much

Updated: March 3, 2014 12:50PM



MERRILLVILLE — A small church in town may soon have a new home, provided it receives Town Council approval and doesn’t add too many members.

Immanuel Gomez, pastor of One New Man Temple of Hope Inc., received approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals to move into a 1,300-square-foot suite at 1205 W. Lincoln Highway — on the condition that membership not exceed 50 people.

“If you grow more, then you have to look for a bigger location,” zoning director Dorinda Gregor told Gomez.

Gomez still must receive Town Council approval before the church can move into the commercial building.

Gomez said the church has 23 members and he doesn’t foresee growing substantially in the near future.

The membership had been meeting at another church for six years, but had to move out by Jan. 1 because the other church needed the additional space, Gomez said.

Board chairman John Minchuk wanted to table the matter, citing fire code and capacity concerns.

“I’m more interested in the congregation’s future,” Minchuk said.

Gregor said, however, the fire inspector won’t check out the building unless the request has been approved. She also noted that the building the church would be located in already houses another church and a school.

In other matters, the board tabled action on Innsbrook Country Club’s request for an off-premise monument sign, to be located about 870 feet from its entry.

The sign would let drivers know the country club entrance is coming up.

Board attorney William Touchette said he thought the 7-foot-by-10-foot ground sign was massive.

Board member Chuck Stojakovich also pointed out that a new sewer line is going in along Taft, by where the sign would be installed, so the sign would have to come down to make way for the work. He said state approval is needed, since Taft is a state road.

“I want to make sure the sign won’t be pushed so far back it won’t do you any good,” Stojakovich said.



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