The city's Board of Zoning Appeals made quick work of the only item before it on Thursday evening, the approval of a request from the local congregation of the Jehovah's Witnesses for a conditional use of property on the north end of Bierhaus Boulevard.

The congregation has plans for a new church at the corner of Bierhaus and Indiana 61.

Both the Area Plan Commission and the city council had previously approved the project, and all that was left was for the board to give its OK to allow the property, about .75 acres now zoned for light commercial use, to be used for a church.

Adjoining landowners seem to be fine with the project; 13 of them were contacted by certified mail about the purpose of Thursday's meeting and none of them attended to protest.

Four neighboring property owners couldn't be reached due to inaccurate addresses.

Kelly Trittipo, an Indianapolis paralegal and volunteer helping local church members navigate the re-zoning process, said she wasn't sure as to the timetable of the project, explaining that was in the hands of another church committee.

City inspector Phillip Cooper said municipal ordinances were specific in the qualifications required of electricians, plumbers and general contractors working on the project.

He recommended Trittipo have those on the committee contact him before they make any decisions.

“Just have them give me a call,” Cooper said.

The actual labor involved will be volunteer-based, Trittipo said, although they will be working under the direction of licensed contractors.

The congregation currently meets at 720 N. 15½ St. and has outgrown that space.

The property on which the new church is now to be built was part of nearly 35 acres owned by U.S. Partners Group Inc., a development group in Indianapolis. Since 2008 the property has been zoned as a Planned Unit Development, or PUD, to allow for a mixed-use development as many had hoped the area would develop with both residential and commercial space.

In early 2008 Dexter McCormick, a former Vincennes resident, announced plans to develop the 35 acres into Cypress Pointe/Cypress Commons, including about 87,000 square feet of retail space and 88 condominiums, each about 1,800 square feet.

The project fell victim to the financial collapse of that year.

The remaining 34 acres will retain their PUD status.

Church officials say once the new church is built they doubt it would ever be expanded; should the congregation continue to grow the church would likely move to having a Saturday service and Sunday service to accommodate the larger number rather than add on.

Having a church in the area would not restrict the type of future development that may occur nor prohibit the owners of Blossom Hill Rental Complex at 2697 E. Ind. 61 from obtaining a liquor license.

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