Church’s request for building delay sparks Channahon Village Board
By Jeanne Millsap For The Herald-News June 20, 2012 10:36AM
Updated: July 23, 2012 7:12AM
CHANNAHON — Temperaments in the Channahon Village Board room Monday evening were as hot as the weather outside as representatives from an area church once again asked trustees for more time to complete required construction.
The First Baptist Church of Channahon has built a new church and school on the village’s northeast side, just north of Route 6, but the deadline for completing parking lot and landscaping work came and went on June 15 without the work being done.
“You gave us a commitment you would have that in,” Trustee Jerry Papesh said.
Pastor Randy Blan told trustees he did not agree to have the work completed by the deadline in the first place when the board granted the church a partial occupancy permit last November provided the remaining work would be completed by June 15.
“I didn’t have a choice,” Blan said regarding the deadline. “I feel like that commitment was forced on us.”
This was not the first time church members have come before the board asking for more time or special allowances. Last August, the village board granted a temporary 90-day occupancy permit for the church’s school, Families of Faith Christian Academy, to allow the church time to complete its parking lot, lights, parking islands and landscaping.
The board gave the allowance so the church would be able to open the school at the beginning of the school year.
According to village staff, however, the required work was not completed within 90 days. Trustees then unanimously approved removing the 90-day limit and granting a partial occupancy permit provided the work was completed by June 15.
Trustees Scott McMillin and Scott Slocum suggested giving the church two more weeks. Papesh suggested seven days.
Trustees Judy Nash and Debbie Militello said they were against any extension of a temporary occupancy permit.
Blan said he had good reasons for not finishing the work. The church’s landscaper suffered a fire, which delayed that project, and church staff just found out about a new product for paving the parking lot that they wanted time to explore.
When McMillin asked Blan when he could finish the parking lot, Blan said he didn’t know.
Slocum told Blan he believed the pastor was being disrespectful of the board.
“This board has been more than lenient with you,” Slocum said. “This board has bent over backward … to make sure you get in that church.”
In the end, the board approved granting a partial occupancy permit for the school, as the temporary occupancy permit had expired. Trustees Papesh and Nash voted no.
Trustees also gave the church until Aug. 1 to have the parking lot completed, or the building’s occupancy permit will be revoked. Trustees Slocum and Sam Greco opposed that measure.