Montgomery residents & developers face off over church project - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Montgomery residents & developers face off over church project

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

There was lots of frustration at City Hall Thursday night as hundreds of Montgomery residents came out to voice their concerns over a proposed project near the entrance to their subdivision. 

More than 300 residents from County Downs and neighboring subdivisions gathered for a meeting of the Montgomery Board of Adjustments. 

The board heard from engineers representing a local church that wants to build a new facility along Atlanta Highway at the front of the County Downs subdivision. 

Kingdom Hall on Perry Hill Road has outgrown its location- members are parking on grass, on adjacent streets and in front of houses. The church is looking to build a new facility at the spot on Atlanta Highway to the right of the County Downs entrance, a three acre strip.

Project developers had to go before the board of adjustment to get a use variance on the property which is zoned residential. 

And during the meeting, residents from County Downs, Bellehurst and Fox Hollow told the board that the church would create traffic problems in the neighborhood and along Atlanta Highway.

"They think that the traffic and other thing are detrimental to their neighborhood. It's not about the church. It's about that much activity in the neighborhood. It's a residential neighborhood, and these lots are actually zoned residential. It's changing the character," said Jim Edwards, an attorney representing County Downs residents.

"Traffic's not heavy all the time. It's heavy in the morning commute, it's heavy in the evening commute and the church meets off time from that, so when they're there, there's not that many cars,' said Ron Bell, engineer for the church project. 

No action was taken by the Board of Adjustments to allow for the project to move forward. Board members did not allow for the use variance on the residential spot. One board member said it was clearly "not welcome by the neighborhood" and another said the project did not "fit"at that location after hearing from residents. 

The developers for the church project can appeal the board's decision in circuit court. 
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