BZA skeptical of church’s request
By Kitty Conley email@example.com November 5, 2013 11:46AM
The Crown Point Board of Zoning Appeals expressed reservations about allowing RAW Church to hold night-time concerts at its location in this Summit Street building. | Kitty Conley/Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 5, 2013 3:36PM
CROWN POINT — The Crown Point Board of Zoning Appeals did not look favorably on a request by members of RAW Church to operate a music venue at 901 Summit Street in units B & C. This is the former location of Enterprise Rent-A-Car and is in an industrial zone.
This request was deferred to the next meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 25, in the council chambers of city hall.
When BZA chairman Dan Rohaley asked how many people would be coming to one of the music events he was told about 400. That many people would require far more parking than is available at this site. With everyone coming and leaving at the same time for events it could present major traffic problems.
Board member John Marshall asked and was never answered if any of the bands ever used pyrotechnics. Marshall said, “We will not allow any pyrotechnics and there will be no lodging at this location.”
RAW Church wants to bring traveling bands to perform with local groups. This is underground music: punk, metal, and Goth.
Pam and Ed Connell from the RAW Church said the music venue “is going to bring in people not just from Crown Point but from other areas, all over the Midwest.”
There are some problems with the location. The property entrance is within 325 feet of the intersection of Summit Street and Indiana Avenue, where there is a traffic light. Across the street on the northwest corner of that same intersection is an area already approved for a gas station, although that has not been built at this time. That gas station already has a driveway onto Summit Street approved, as will the lots already zoned business on the north side of Summit.
The next street to the west is Thomas Street which is just 322 feet from the entrance to this area. When asked about the noise, the BZA was told it is in an industrial area so that should not be a problem. This is just two-tenths of a mile east of what was the original location of Buddy N Pals.
In addition to the existing residential area south of this location by the Babe Ruth baseball fields that is where extra public parking is just a block away. So people attending the music events will be coming and going on foot through the Point Medical parking lot to get to the public parking at Thomas Street Park.
This location that RAW Church wants to use as both a church on Sunday and a music venue during week nights is also across the street and directly south of the old Bryfogle Farm property that is intended to be an assisted living and nursing home complex.
The RAW Church was also at the BZA meeting requesting a variance of use to operate a church in an industrial zone. The BZA was not as worried about a church as about the music, but members were curious about there also being a tattoo parlor and an auto repair shop under the same roof.
Fire Chief Greg DeLor said fire safety laws will not allow any auto repair to be done under the same roof as a church or music venue.
Lisa Bostic of Cedar Lake, who was speaking for RAW Church, told the BZA that the music was the way to reach out to the “culture that doesn’t fit” in mainstream churches. They are musicians, artists and people with long hair and lots of tats.
Bostic told the BZA that with the hard core music they will bring God to the “darkest places.” They don’t ask the young people to cut their hair, get rid of their piercings, cover up their tatoos, change their clothing or wash off their make-up. They get to them through the music, and will be trying to get them to come back on Sunday to attend their worship services.