Tuesday, June 06, 2000

Home for pregnant teens wins appeal

By Janet C. Wetzel
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONROE — Solid Rock Church's 2-year-old plans to build a home for pregnant, unwed teen-age girls moved a step forward Monday with an 18-page decision from the 12th District Court of Appeals.

        The three judges ruled that Butler County Common Pleas Court erred in its September 1999 ruling that the church's 1985 conditional use permit did not allow the home to be built on church property. The case was sent back to the lower court.

        Church officials could not be reached for comment. But its attorney, C. Francis Barrett, called the finding good news.

        “I know that our client will be very pleased with this decision,” Mr. Barrett said.

        Monroe has 45 days to appeal the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court, Mr. Barrett said.

        Monroe Mayor Elbert Tannreuther said that's a decision for council.

        “I have no great problems with this ruling,” Mayor Tannreuther said. “We supported this plan before it became an issue. Then when Jay Frick (church neighbor) complained that he thought he would be hurt by the zoning, we took up his cause. But evidently the appeals court doesn't see it that way.”

        The nondenominational church on Union Road announced its plans for the nonprofit Darlene Bishop Home in May 1998, and wanted to start the $1 million, 16,000-square-foot home that summer.

        The home would accept girls from all over the country, help them keep their babies and provide life skills training and spiritual education.

        Church neighbors Jay and Helen Frick objected, saying building the home near their Traders World Flea Market and Cincinnati Zoysia Inc. sod farm could detrimentally affect the marketing of that land. In early 1999, Jay Stewart, city zoning enforcement officer, denied the church's application to build the home under the church's conditional-use permit.

        The Fricks could not be reached for comment.


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