Neighbors say a Columbia churchâ??s praise is disturbing the peace
Wed, 19 Dec 2012 08:58:14 GMT — COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Itâ??s another Sunday morning at Rehoboth United Assemblies, parishioners using drums, the keyboard and other instruments to sing songs of praise.
The church has been a fixture along Laurel Street for more than 20 years but that could soon all change because their services are too loud.
â??We are the victims now because we now are having to constrict or restrict our form of worship onto God, says Apostle Johnnie L. Clark, Pastor of Rehoboth United Assemblies.
Noise complaints have been pouring into the City of Columbiaâ??s Police Department for the past few months.
Neighbors say itâ??s so difficult to sleep due to sounds from the churches night and morning services.
Neighbors Tim and Sheri, who didn't want to appear on camera, say they moved to the house right next to the church a few years ago not anticipating any issues would arise.
Apostle Johnnie Clark says when developers were set to build homes in the neighborhood the church was given a buyout offer.
â??They were looking to buy us out. They made us an offer, but it was chicken scratch; we wouldnâ??t take it,â?? says Apostle Clark.
Tim and Sherri say the noise has heightened over the past few months.
According to city officials, the church was recently given six citations. One was thrown out because of a technicality. The citations are for creating a public nuisance under city section 8-67 which says in part: "It's unlawful for any person to operate any instrument...or sound-amplifying device so loudly as to unreasonably disturb persons in the vicinity thereof."
The church has a court date coming up to address the citations.
As for Tim and Sheri, they tell WACH Fox in a statement that the complaints are not about race or religion, they're about everyone living peacefully together.
Many are wondering why the city would zone a house to be build next to a church. In an email to WACH Fox, K. Brian Cook, the cityâ??s Zoning Administrator, says:
"The zoning classification of a property would determine the minimum distance (setback) a structure should be from a property line. The owner could choose to build up to that setback line or move a greater distance from it."