South Bend Catholic Worker DOESN’T lose zoning vote

posted by Mike on November 15th, 2005

Update: The South Bend Catholic Worker has a good chance of winning its zoning battle. The article cited below says that they “lost” yesterday’s zoning vote because it was a tie vote. But all this really means is that it will go to another vote at the next Common Council meeting, when the missing councilor will be there and break the tie.

When I was in SB a couple weeks ago, the feeling was that few people in power were willing to support the CW. So this tie vote represents powerful momentum. One hopes that they can work something out with those neighbors who oppose the zoning change, and get a 9-0 council vote on the compromise solution.

Here’s the story, via WNDU-TV:

A public hearing was held on whether to re-zone a Catholic group home and took nearly four hours Monday night. Ultimately, it was defeated due to a tie vote.

A tie vote is much better than people were expecting.

“I hope they can get it re-zoned, I hope they work it out, they worked it out for me. I wasn’t suppose to be here,” said Adeline Jones, Wigfall Barbershop.

But the barbershop owner on West Washington says the city made an exception for her years ago and she feels the board should do the same for her neighbors.

“I’ve had no problem with them they are very nice people,” said Jones.

This has been missing from the South Bend Tribune stories I’ve seen—that the zoning system can be flexible.

One man comments on the CW supporters at the meeting:

“They are here in droves but that doesn’t mean a lot to me,” said Joseph Karanja. “In my opinion most of these supporters are listening to their religious leaders and religious leaders can say whatever they want and members will follow.”

It ain’t over:

One council member was absent from the meeting.

Therefore at the council’s November 28th board meeting, the motion can be brought up again for a vote, which means the outcome for the rezoning request could change.

N.B.: The article suggests that the CW owns three homes on the street; I think they own one and rent the others.

The Tribune’s story looks at who voted and why:

Voting against the proposals were council members Derek Dieter, D-1st; Karen White, D-at large; David Varner, R-5th; and Charlotte Pfeifer, D-2nd, who lives near the house and has been one of its most adamant critics. Voting for it were Timothy Rouse, D-at large; Ervin Kuspa, D-6th; Ann Puzzello, D-4th; and Roland Kelly, D-at large.

Puzzello and Kelly said they initially opposed Catholic Worker but changed their minds after recently visiting the house and hearing from supporters Monday night.

“I’ve been very conflicted,” Kelly said. “I came in here this evening thinking I would vote in opposition. But my opinion is changing. I think the Catholic Worker does some good things far beyond the sheltering of the homeless and the feeding of the homeless.”

The Tribune also has an interesting op-ed from a high schooler about resisting army recruiters:

I want to live in an America where we can honestly say every one is treated equal. An America where schools aren’t targeted by the armed forces because they are in a poor neighborhood.

An America where George Bush’s daughters are just as likely to join the Army as the average Riley student. I’m sick of hearing “In the Army National Guard, you can.”

It’s time to let America’s youth know that without the Army National Guard you still can!

This is a little echo of Sunday’s Boston Globe article about large numbers of local students choosing to keep their personal info from military recruiters.

Pat Robertson has recently suggested that if your community rejects creationism, that God will stay away. If your community rejects war, does that mean that Satan will stay away?

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