Bloomington Planning Commission rejects plan to rezone church for business sale
The Bloomington Planning Commission voted Wednesday against plans to rezone the site of a church on the city's southwest side for use by a siding and window business.
Pastor Charles Armstrong at Bloomington Baptist Church on Alexander Road submitted the petition on behalf of prospective buyers Sundown Exteriors, hoping the sale of the property will help his church move to a better location.
“I looked at our situation, I looked at our trajectory of growth and feedback from the community from going door to door, and came to the conclusion that the location of the church was not serviceable for our long-term existence,” Armstrong said.
Homeowners near the church spoke out strongly against the petition, expressing concerns that commercial development will be a detriment to the community. Of particular concern was the omission from the petition of Sundown Exteriors’ roofing work, seemingly more for the omission than the work itself.
Brian Knuth, representing 88-year-old father Myron, did take issue with the work.
“Knowing now that this is a roofing company, we wonder about water contamination if asphalt and adhesive materials are stored on site just a quarter of a mile from Goose Creek. There’s no storm drainage on Alexander Road except grass ditches that all lead to Goose Creek,” Knuth said.
Another neighbor, Sally Gould, worried about an increase in traffic from delivery of construction materials.
“The road is busy enough with buses and lots of cars from the trailer park, and lots of pedestrians walking on the road also. There is no room for semis to go up and down,” Gould said.
Sundown Exteriors representative Brianna Brosmer said she was unaware that roofing was omitted from the text of the petition and insisted that property would be used predominantly for office space, along with fleet vehicle storage inside an additional structure.
“We don’t plan on storing materials. We don’t have dumpsters, we don’t have big trucks. No materials get delivered to the shop. We don’t have big trucks and trailers coming through here,” Brosmer said.
The petition then went to discussion among the commissioners at the conclusion of the public hearing, and finally to a unanimous vote to deny the petition.
“My feeling on rezoning is that you do it for one of two reasons: either conditions have changed to make the old zoning unsuitable, or the old zoning was mistaken and shouldn’t have been that way in the first place,” said Commissioner David Stanczak. “I haven’t seen any analysis that would point to either of those conclusions.”