Share This Page

Pastor seeks zoning change to build church in Pleasant Hills

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A pastor is asking for a parcel of Pleasant Hills property to be rezoned, so he could build a new church.

The Rev. Jeffrey Winters of Jefferson Hills and founder of the Freedom Life Center asked members of council if a 17-acre parcel could be rezoned, so his young congregation could purchase it and build a new church.

The property, located along Route 51, would offer his 250-member congregation the opportunity to grow, Winters said. The group now meets in the former New Wine Harvest Church on Old Clairton Road. Winters began his church in his home with 30 people about four years ago. Since then, he has gone from one Sunday service to three.

The vacant property in question is designated as residential, but Winters wants the zoning to be changed to public use. He would prefer to purchase the property after rezoning has occurred.

“It's too big of a risk to put $325,000 in property that's not rezoned,” Winters said.

Although Councilman Rege Brown said he has no reservations about supporting this particular group, he wants to ensure the church has a firm plan in place. Others agreed.

The pastor was hoping to use the property as collateral for a loan to build the $600,000 to $700,000 church, containing classrooms, a 500-seat auditorium, gymnasium, coffee shop and a kitchen. The site would have adequate parking.

Council also was interested in Winters' timeline for gathering funds, developing plans and building his church.

Solicitor Fred Jug Jr. cautioned that if there's a need for an additional traffic light at the church, the $200,000 cost would be passed on to the property owner.

While the borough's zoning hearing board was in favor of the pastor's request by a vote of 3-1, Joe Esper, councilman, pointed out that it is a seven-member group, and only four were present at the meeting.

Winters and a few church members had hoped for an immediate, positive response from council but were asked to bring their request back to them in July. In that time, council could consider how this zoning change would affect the borough's comprehensive plan.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.