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Planned church sign causes resident concern

Planned church sign causes resident concern
August 09
04:00 2018

A local church’s plan to replace its sign resulted in numerous residents voicing concerns about the change at a City Council meeting held Monday, Aug. 6.

Disciples of Grace Ministries on Oak Summit Road applied for a rezoning that would allow for the replacement of its current sign with a larger, more prominent electronic one.

“The sign that’s there right now is not noticeable at all,” said Mischelle Houser, the wife of Grace Ministries Pastor Dr. Joe Houser.

Neighbors voiced concerns about the dozens of land uses that the new zoning would allow, which Houser addressed by agreeing to eliminate all uses other than church and day care. Others said numerous neighbors didn’t like the idea of the sign and feared any changes associated with it could attract crime back to the neighborhood. One said she heard the church was going to house a rehabilitation program for alcohol abuse.

Disciples of Grace Ministries, which moved to its current location from Rural Hall in October, has numerous programs, including a Youth Ministry and a Woman of Wisdom (WOW) program. Hauser, who has a bachelor’s degree in Christian counseling and is certified as a domestic violence and sexual assault advocate,  said she already works with women with numerous issues including drugs, alcohol and rape through the WOW program, which she started in 2004.

“The church is there to improve the community,” said Houser.

The City Council unanimously sided with the church, saying the community and the church need to be working together, since religious institutions enhance neighborhoods.

“I don’t see where it’s going to do anything but add to what’s going on up there,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke, who represents the Northeast Ward that contains the church.

A church in the West Ward had the same zoning request for an electronic sign, but there was no opposition to that.

The City Council again continued the rezoning for the shuttered Burger King on Martin Luther King Drive since the franchisee is still attempting to purchase the land it’s on from Burger King corporate before remodeling the location. A date for the matter to be heard will be scheduled after the franchisee successfully acquires the property

Also during the meeting:

*The City Council voted to approve bond referendums for $43.7 million for streets and sidewalks, $31 million for parks and recreation, $21.1 million for public safety facilities, $14.5 million for economic development and $11.7 million for housing. City residents get a chance to vote separately for all five bonds at the bottom of their November ballot.

*The council approved hiring August Vernon, Wake Forest University Emergency Services manager, as the new City/County Emergency Services manager. County commissioners are scheduled to vote on the appointment on Aug. 16.

*A zoning request by Southeast Gateway Ventures LLC to allow for the building of a four-story 32-unit residential multifamily complex at 1151 South Marshall was approved.

*The historic landmark property of the Middleton House was reduced from 5 acres to 1.8 acres to allow for the construction of a road.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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