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R.A.W. Church gets BZA OK

Updated: December 30, 2013 12:04PM



CROWN POINT — The Board of Zoning Appeals gave the R.A.W. Church a recommendation for approval, with restrictions, of a variance that would allow the church to have musical entertainment at its Summit Street location.

The BZA vote was 3-2. The variance request will be sent to the City Council for final action at its Jan. 6 meeting.

The members of R.A.W. Church did as requested at the previous BZA meeting, bringing greater detail to what they wish to do at this industrial site located at 901 Summit St.

Church representatives say their church is for those who feel unwanted in traditional churches. These are the young adults that have the long hair, punk rock clothing and hair and tattoos and piercings. Their music is loud and punk rock. If they go to a conventional church they are told to clean up, cover the tats, and get rid of the purple, orange and green hair, the ministry of the R.A.W. Church wants them.

This is an elder-run church and will have staff members to assist new members. It will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be women’s prayer meetings and men’s prayer meetings for Bible study two times a month for both groups of an expected 20 people each.

The worship will be on Sunday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. They expect to grow to about 250 members attending worship. They have a signed agreement for shared parking with the medical facility at the same site.

John Connell told about the music ministry that will now be limited to Friday and Saturday nights from 6 to 10 p.m. with an additional hour for staff to clean up the building.

He told the BZA that when they would have local bands it would be between 50 to 100 people in attendance. When they would get a national touring band the attendance could be 125 to 200. They will use a wristband system. When they give out the 200 wristbands, no one else gets inside.

The BZA added a requirement of two off-duty police officers at all music events to be paid by the church for security. Traffic will only be allowed to turn right, eastbound, when leaving a music event.

There will be zero tolerance for drugs, alcohol, and fighting. Recording cameras will be mounted both inside and on the outside of the building for music events. They will record not only inside the building but also sent to a remote site for security. Major sound proofing will be done to the building.

All of the members of the BZA had concerns with only 65 parking spaces for the volume of cars that would be generated. Christopher Meyers, city building and planning administrator, said that the formula for church parking is one space for every six people. There is public parking a few blocks away, but there are no sidewalks.

The BZA also put a mandatory six-month review on the recommendation to the City Council.

BZA member John Marshall said that he would prefer that the off-duty police officers be Crown Point officers. They know the city’s rules.

The BZA also limited the R.A.W. Church to one music event per week, a limit of 200 people at the music venue in the building, the 10 p.m. end time, and a maximum 250 at the worship services.



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