County, Church Agree to Plan After Closed-Door Talks Without Public Input
The St. Augustine Record
June 8, 2011
After two years of behind-the-scenes negotiation and Mediation a County Commission approved a settlement with a church which intends to build a massive $50 million church complex in a rural part of the county. Because mediation requires confidentiality, several residents who live near the proposed church were completely unaware of the provisions in the deal.
One commission member said, “This has been a difficult issue. I’m pleased with the settlement and how it worked out. It is my hope and my prayer that this will heal the community.” Another individual said that “The church intends to be a long-term member of the community” and the agreement “looks to the future and tries to anticipate what issues will come up.” In light of the complexities of building such a large structure in a rural community, it may be a disservice to the community to have reached a settlement under the shield of confidence without input from the greater community.