Church, homeowners at odds over Meyerland housing project


by Courtney Zubowski / KHOU 11 News

Posted on June 22, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 22 at 5:40 PM

HOUSTON—They’ve been neighbors for nearly 60 years, but a church and some Meyerland residents are now at odds over a proposed addition to the area.

"We feel this project has been laid in front of us with our feelings not being considered," said Meyerland resident Pam Diebner.

Diebner and many others in the Meyerland community are concerned about a transitional housing project that the Austin-based Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services plans to build. It would be located near St. John’s Presbyterian church in the 5000 block of W. Bellfort.

Meyerland is a deed-restricted community, but the church sits just outside of the neighborhood.

The project would include four two-duplex units.

The units would house parents who have limited education or job skills. Each family would live in the duplexes for about a year.

"They have not been answering our questions. Our community has many concerns about security, safety of each other, maintenance and upkeep of these facilities. We do not feel as if we have gotten substantial answers to these questions," Diebner told KHOU 11 News. "There is a fear of the unknown, there’s a fear of security, and we want to protect our children."

The church’s pastor, Jon Burnham, said they don’t yet have all of the answers to the residents’ questions, but they do want to work with the community.

Burnham feels it’s the church’s responsibility to address human needs.

"Safety is going to be a primary concern for me as a pastor of the congregation because they are going to be on our campus, said Pastor Burnham. "So we’re going to do everything we can to make sure this is a safe environment for them and also the community."

Some concerned residents plan to hold a meeting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Godwin Park in Meyerland to discuss what they plan to do next.

Meanwhile, the church is moving forward with the project.