Interfaith campus rezoning gets initial OK

City officials have given initial approval to rezone land that will be used to create an interfaith campus by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus and the Hindu Society of Southern Indiana.

The Columbus City Council on Tuesday voted 5-2 to rezone a combined 8.56 acres at 7850 and 7930 Goeller Road from agriculture preferred to public/semi-public facilities. City Councilmen Frank Jerome and Laurie Booher voted against the proposal.

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation owns the 6.56-acre property at 7850 Goeller Road, which includes a church, valued at $831,600, according to Bartholomew County property records. The Hindu Society owns the adjacent 2-acre property, which includes a 1,317-square-foot home, at 7930 Goeller Road, valued at $98,800.

They plan to merge the property into one interfaith campus, with plans for additional parking.

The rezoning came to the city council with a favorable recommendation in October from the Columbus Plan Commission.

Rocky Myers, who lives behind the property, addressed the council and cited flooding concerns about the proposed project.

Unitarian Church congregation member Allen Gifford told council members that if the rezoning were approved, the campus would work with engineers to resolve any issues such as potential flooding at the site.

Jerome said after the meeting that he was opposed to the plan because he thought there were too many buildings on the acreage.

A site plan will have to be submitted to the Columbus Plan Commission if the rezoning is granted final approval, which could come during the council’s 6 p.m. Nov. 21¬†meeting, city-county planning director¬†Jeff Bergman said.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com