ELYRIA — A group of Lorain residents is fighting a new church going in the old Holy Trinity complex.
Councilman Dennis Flores, D-Ward 2, and residents Gelila Samuel, Samuel Getachew and Patricia Gonzalez, represented by Avon Lake Attorney Gerald Phillips, filed an appeal in Lorain County Common Pleas Court on Thursday of a conditional use permit granted last month for a new congregation to take over the property.
The property is owned by Anthony Horn, who filed for a conditional use permit to allow for a church at 2426 Elyria Ave. Represented by Attorney Anthony Giardini at a July 3 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, Giardini said the Rev. Ray Robinson was hoping to move his growing congregation into the space.
Robinson, according to Zoning Board of appeals minutes, is a local mortician and pastor for Living Word Pentecostal Christian Church on Delaware Avenue, possibly “the largest African American Pentecostal in Lorain.”
The submitted conditional use application stated the group would like to use three buildings on the property — the rectory, church and social hall — as originally used when the property was a church.
The board unanimously granted the conditional use permit, with the understanding the property would need to pass a building and fire inspection and repair its fence and other cosmetic issues to be granted an occupancy permit.
The board previously had denied a conditional use permit for the property for Sparkle Carey to operate a men’s group home there.
Phillips’ filing alleges the board’s decision is illegal as its granting was “the direct result of fraud being perpetrated upon the City of Lorain Board of Zoning Appeals” by Horn and Giardini, under the guise of no group home being operated at the property.
Minutes from the Zoning Board of Appeals, submitted with the lawsuit, include statements from Giardini that the issue is “whether a church can go there; not a group home, not a whatever — a church.”