A church with the best of intentions has found itself at odds with adjacent property owners in a planning and zoning debate.


The debate is over a rezoning request for a B2 classification in an industrial zone to allow for residential use.


A church with the best of intentions has found itself at odds with adjacent property owners in a planning and zoning debate.

The debate is over a rezoning request for a B2 classification in an industrial zone to allow for residential use.

The rezoning case for the Beacon of Hope Church will be back on the agenda for the Camden County Planning and Zoning Commission in May. The case was on the April agenda for a public hearing. The commission is expected to make a decision on the zoning request in May.

The church, on Runabout Road (Lake Road 54-63) near Osage Beach, has inadvertently found itself defending the use of one level of a 19,000 square foot structure in a commercial zoning area as a residential facility for men.

The church isn’t the problem. Based on planning and zoning rules, the church itself can be located in any type of zoning classification. It is the residential program the church offers for men that is raising objections from other landowners.

Beacon of Hope’s program is designed help men coming out of prison and those in need of alcohol and drug rehab. The residential program is well-supervised. The church has considered expanding the program to include a section for women. The church wants to include two neighboring lots and is surrounded by industrial use. Commercial storage facilities are on each side and an industrial operation is located across the road.

Adjacent property owners are in an unusual position of supporting the church and its mission to help, but at the same time concerned the planning and zoning commission may make a move to allow spot zoning in an area designated for commercial use. Property values and security concerns were two of the issues raised by property owners  at a recent planning and zoning hearing.

While the property owners don’t mind the church having a thrift shop or food pantry, they don’t feel it is an acceptable location for a residential program.

According to planning director Chris Hall, there are several issues involved in the case. The church was not aware of the zoning issues when they opened their doors for the residential facility and if the planning commission does approve the request for the B2 zoning, it opens them up to the debate over spot zoning.

“Spot zoning would essentially benefit the church and none of the other property owners,” he said. “That kind of up and down zoning can hurt property values. The other property owners have a valid concern. It is a difficult situation. The property owners who are opposed to the zoning change aren’t against the church, they are against the residential use in an industrial area. Some of the property owners have contributed to the church.”

Contact Editorial Director Joyce L. Miller at joyce.miller@lakesunonline.com.