Some claim it is a fight to keep God out of a popular Indianapolis neighborhood. A Jehovah's Witnesses congregation wants to move-in, but those living in the area say they are not welcome. The residents insist religion is not the issue.
There weren't any empty seats in the fight between a neighborhood and a church that wants to move-in Wednesday. Things got heated.
"The representation that you put forward that churches, in residential areas and single family houses, surrounded by streets, is comparable to being in the middle of a subdivision, a planned community, is simply not true," added another.
The site has been sold. College Park has tried twice before to keep Jehovah's Witnesses from breaking ground on 5.8 acres inside the community’s boundary. Susan Lindsey has lived in College Park for 27 years. She knows a third failed attempt will change their neighborhood forever.
"It is sad. I have come to love this place the way it is," said Lindsey.
The City-County Council approved the church development a month ago. Residents like Bruce Leppert said the process was not fair.
"We feel like we are being railroaded because it is so opposed by most of the residents here,” said Leppert. “We feel it has been difficult to have our voices heard."
"We sincerely feel that our presence in the College Park area will be an asset to the neighborhood," said Cory Jones, the College Park Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Jones said they will be good neighbors, but neighbors said the fight is not about the added church, it is about the added people.
"There are only two ways to get in and out of this neighborhood, and with the extra traffic it is really going to cause some issues," said Lindsey.
Lindsey said if this attempt fails, and the church does move in, people will move out.
"I would love to see the proposal defeated and that we could just move on," said Lindsey.
The petition goes to City-County Council for action Nov. 12. If the Council does not take action, the rezoning stands.
Community fights to keep Jehovah's Witnesses out of neighborhood