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Old-fashioned neighborhood threatened

By Trina Trice

Residents living on Noah's Ark Road in Jonesboro are gathering their resources to protest the building of a church in their once quiet, "old-fashioned" neighborhood.

The property at 2270 Noah's Ark Rd., classified as agricultural, was the location of home belonging to prominent Clayton County resident Wesley E. Greene.

Greene has been in the spotlight recently for publicly defending controversial members of the Clayton County Board of Education as the leader of the Black Christian Ministers of Clayton County.

But this time Greene's property is in the news.

"It's not against the church," said Kathy Belew. "We're all church going people. We'd just prefer not to have (the neighborhood) open up for a commercial business as far as zoning is concerned."

Molly Cottingham lives next door to Greene's property. She finds it hard to live next door to the 400 watt security lights that were recently installed.

"It's like living in a ballpark," she said. "He's using it as a church already."

Dawn Dickerson of the Planning and Zoning Department confirmed that Greene has applied for a conditional use permit for a church.

Dickerson asserts, though, that the property would still be considered agricultural and not commercial.

Michael Turner, who lives across the street from the property, doesn't buy it.

"That's what we're hearing, but in the petition there's a corporation and that business is a church," he said. "We have several churches in our area. Why don't they find out about churches that lay there empty. I'm sure the county is more interested in the redevelopment (of property) instead of tearing down more trees."

Residents cite increases in traffic and sewage and drainage problems as more concerns.

"As family members and property owners, we don't want any more traffic," Cottingham said. "A church would bring in more traffic than this place could stand. It's bad enough already. (The neighborhood) was very quiet, it was like living in the country. It's changing very quickly."

Cottingham and company have obtained 300 signatures for a petition opposing a new church on the property.

The Board of Commissioners could decide on the issue tonight at its zoning meeting.