DEL CITY — The Del City Council voted 5-0 Monday to not allow a zoning application for the relocation of a halfway house to Del City.
Norma Johnston, 78, who has lived in Del City since 1952, said she's grateful about the council's decision.
“I'm sorry for the people who are incarcerated,” Johnston said. “But a residential area is no place for a facility like that.”
On June 28, the planning commission denied the application for the facility, which could house almost 200 drug offenders who are transitioning back to society after serving time in prison.
The halfway house, run by Center Point Inc., wanted to relocate from SE 51 and Interstate 35 to 4216 E Reno, the current location of Howard Memorial Baptist Church.
The requested zoning would have allowed Center Point and the church to operate on the same property.
The church's pastor, Andrew Mericle, was to serve as chaplain to the halfway house.
More than 200 people attended the June 28 meeting.
Many said they don't want a halfway house in their neighborhood.
“I understand the church's mission,” said Jacque Mooney, a Del City resident since 1949. “But, we need to bring things in to benefit this community. If the church couldn't survive, will Center Point?”
Mericle said the partnership is the best option for the church.
“Our reason for existence is to minister the presence of God to the community and to the people that need spiritual help,” Mericle said.
“If we can help Center Point and that endeavor, the church is serving its mission. We are improving the community that we live in.”