Approval of church site well handled

Dec. 13, 2012  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.


Officials and commissioners listened to concerns from both sides and knew a compromise had to be reached


Despite the concerns of many residents, the fastest growing church in inner-city Detroit is coming to Northville Township.

Triumph Church, which claims a 15,000 member congregation and a 4,000 member a month growth rate came to an agreement with the township recently to take over an existing facility on Beck Road. The church currently has five out- reach churches for services, one of them currently meets at Canton High School, according to their website.

The issue which several people alluded to but never verbalized was that Triumph is a black congregation. There were eye-rolls and some raised eyebrows, but nobody ever said that the color of the congregation had anything to do with the concerns residents expressed at meetings of the township planning commission when they were asked to approve the move of the church to the site.

We don’t think race had anything to do with it.

Anybody who has ever been forced to drive down Beck Road during any of the busy commuter times of day, which lately is nearly all the time, will agree that it isn’t pretty. Beck is a heavily used and well traveled road through the town ship and many travelers getting off I-275 use it to get further up to the next major highway interchange. Many from the other direction find it the best way to get to I-275, too. Try driving it at around 5 in the afternoon and the concerns of area residents will be obvious.

Considering the traffic in the area, we suspect that the complexion of this congregation could have been a bright shade of green, or any color of the rainbow, and the concerns would have been exactly the same. The concern here was for the increased traffic a congregation of this size, of any size, really, would add to the Beck Road parking lot most drivers who travel it regularly experience.

Residents also expressed concern about the tax-exempt status of the church on a piece of property this large.

The planning commission members and the township listened to the concerns of residents and attempted to find a way to limit the church access which prompted a threat of litigation from church spokespeople. Subsequently, the township hired special legal counsel to work with the church lawyers to come up with an agreement that would work for everyone concerned.

They were successful at that negotiation, and the church will be moving an ancillary location to the 20 acre site between Five and Six Mile roads off Beck soon.

We applaud the township administration for the way in which this was handled. Officials and commissioners listened to concerns from both sides and knew a compromise had to be reached.

They approached the problem with dignity, respect and an attitude of compromise and responsibility.

There will still be increased traffic on Beck Road, but it will be limited to specific times of services after rush hour on Wednesday and on the weekends.

Like we said, a solution requiring a little compromise on both sides.

Northville Township
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