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Negative feedback squashes retreat

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A ministry has withdrawn a proposal for a retreat center west of Columbus after encountering negative feedback from prospective neighbors.

2 Tim 3:16 Ministries Inc. no longer wants to build the retreat at 7162 W. State Road 46, behind Nienaber’s Farm Market in Harrison Township.

Andy Robison and his wife, Denise, who represent the ministry, decided to pull the application being considered by the Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals.

Instead, they said they will try to find a different site for the retreat in either Bartholomew County or Brown County.

“Given the requirements of the board and the restrictions that were going to be placed on the ministry with the way the zoning would be written, we just decided that this wasn’t the right property,” Denise Robison said. “It was a hard decision.”

City-county assistant planning director Melissa Begley said the proposal was pulled from consideration by the applicants Aug. 21.

On July 22, zoning board members asked the couple for site development plans for the retreat center and information about how emergency vehicles could access the property.

The upfront cost of site plans and the cost of creating a road that could be accessible to emergency vehicles would have cost more money than the ministry was willing to pay before having approval for the entire project, Denise Robison said.

Neighbors told the board in July they were concerned about retreat visitors wandering onto private property. The neighbors also said they were concerned about the effect of the retreat on their property values.

“Given the concerns of the neighbors, we also felt like it wasn’t a good fit,” she said. “They had concerns that were very valid, and I wouldn’t want to be in an area where we were upsetting people.”

The proposal had included building five 1,000-square-foot cabins on a 98-acre site which already has a house, a 3-acre lake, a small cabin and a barn that would be converted into a meeting center. The project cost had been estimated at about $1.5 million.

The proposal called for the cabins to be used by clergy struggling with issues such as burnout or needing rejuvenation and for individuals and couples needing a quiet place for Christian reflection and Scripture study, Denise Robison said.

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