Residents say Howland church expansion will create several problems

HOWLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – A monastery in Howland wants to expand and that plan doesn’t sit well with some people living nearby.

Saint Mary & Saint John the Beloved Coptic Christian Church, located on Squires Lane, plans to build a large complex in the neighborhood but some residents are against it.

Susan DeLeo and other neighbors brought their complaints about the development to the Howland Township Trustees meeting Wednesday evening.

“There’s flooding concerns, there’s traffic concerns, there’s…what are going to happen to those woods?” DeLeo said.

The church is proposing to build a new church, guest house and mausoleum.

The development plans hit close to home for DeLeo because the proposed mausoleum would sit in her parents’ backyard.

“These are my parents. This is my childhood home and this is my legacy that we’re fighting for.”

The trustees say that the proposal lies are in the hands of the Board of Zoning Appeals, but DeLeo says she isn’t buying it.

“I can’t imagine that they would let an autonomous board speak for all of Howland,” she said.

Since the trustees can’t give them answers, DeLeo says the next step is to go to court.

“An administrative appeal is pending in the court of common pleas. Judge Ron Rice is hearing the case and our lawyer has a deadline of July 21 to submit a brief.”

Residents say the development also has the potential to decrease property value.

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