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Clause from 1892 causing issues for church interested in selling property

April 4, 2013

BOURBON — A local church is looking at selling property it uses infrequently to an individual wanting to open a wedding chapel in Bourbon.
Brent Leichty, pastor of New Wine Church in Bourbon, visited the Marshall County commissioners meeting Monday to ask them how to proceed in a somewhat unusual situation.
The deed for the parcel that the church sits on includes wording that indicates the property must be used for “church purposes only.” If the property is used for anything other than church purposes, its ownership will revert to Marshall County.
The proposed new owner of the property, Brenna Hoffer, plans to use it for a wedding chapel and banquet center. New Wine Church will still use the building about once a month for church purposes.
“We would still meet there as we have done in the past, but (the property) will be under new ownership,” said Leichty to commissioners Monday. “This would generate tax revenue as well as a few jobs.”
Leichty continued, “We weren’t looking necessarily to sell (the property), but this seemed like a good opportunity to be a blessing to the community.”
Leichty requested that the commissioners release New Wine Church from the 1892 clause stating the property can only be used for church purposes. Commissioners were a little reluctant to do so in Monday’s meeting. Instead, Commissioner Jack Roose suggested tabling the matter until they could research how to proceed.
County attorney Jim Clevenger noted that commissioners might need to have the property appraised and offer it up for bids in case any other buyer is interested. He added that appraising the property might be difficult since there are three different parcels included and buildings on the parcels are connected.
Commissioner Kevin Overmyer agreed with Roose’s suggestion to table the issue and readdress it at a later meeting.
“We just want to do the proper thing,” said Overmyer to Leichty.
Commissioners will readdress the issue at their April 15 meeting.

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