Midland Christian Versus Residents Clash Comes to a Close

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - It's been an issue that seems to have gone on forever for residents near Midland Christian School.

The School is trying to merge several lots into one to make room for a new high school facility, leaving roadblocks roping off Culver Street.

The Midland Planning and Zoning Commission voted down the merge request earlier in June, but at a special session Thursday morning, the Midland City Council approved the school's appeal and the merge can begin.

"What we did today is listen to the neighbors and listen to Midland Christian kind of one last time," City Council Member-At-Large, Scott Dufford, said. "What they need to do in order to get started is to replatt all of those subdivided home lots into one large lot."

Residents living right across from the school like Carrie Hooper told NewsWest 9 they felt like they'd already lost when attending the session.

"We knew today that we were going to lose but we still wanted the council to know that there are plenty of residents that are against this road closing," Hooper said.

Many other residents are mad because the new two-story building is cutting close to the backyards of homes on Hughes Street.

They're saying their privacy is now lost.

"It is an infringement on privacy," Hooper said. "Their elementary school, which is behind me, looks over into my backyard. It's a two-story building. I see the kids, they see me. I should have privacy and I do not."

But council members said the windows on the second floor will be adjusted.

"It's frosted glass," Dufford said. "It's coming from the manufacturer that way. It's not an applique. It's not going to be able to be scratched off. I think that helped those folks with the issue."

Others against the merge said they still don't feel good about the issue.

Carrie's brother, Clayton Hooper, served on a mediation committee between the residents and the school.

"I truly feel that our city council has shown that they do feel that they will back more of the large corporate-type structures than they do neighborhoods," he said.

One neighbor on Hughes told NewsWest 9 off-camera that she is putting her home on the market.

Council members said when the project is finished, the facility's parking lot will help keep the streets safer.

"It's going to take some 300-odd cars off of the street and put them into a parking lot," Dufford said. "It's going to make the whole area a whole lot safer."

But residents said they're still not sure and wonder if the school will try to continue to expand and encroach on them more.

Council members did tell NewsWest 9 they believe the project will begin in the next 30 days.

The final plan for the lot merge will be discussed at the council's July 12th meeting.