Update from Council: February 3, 2023

Dear Epiphany Brothers and Sisters,

Epiphany Lutheran Church’s mission is to “love Jesus by serving others.” Part of this mission is to be a good neighbor to homeowners, businesses, and non-profits in the area, and to support neighborhood projects that promote the public good.

The Epiphany Congregation Council was briefed at its meeting on February 2, 2023, by Epiphany member and attorney, Mark Chilson, about the potential benefits and liabilities of the proposed development of a Sheetz gas station, restaurant, and convenience store at the current Elsa’s Restaurant site. The Council heard from the Preschool Director, Heather Phillips, regarding the needs of the youngest community members and their families, as well as learned about Bethany Village resident concerns. The Council also reviewed an existing parking easement between Epiphany Lutheran Church and the current and future owners of the Elsa’s property. This easement is a legally binding agreement that guarantees a sharing of the parking lot situated between Epiphany’s sanctuary building and the current Elsa’s restaurant building. This parking lot is where much of the proposed development lies.

After deliberation, reflection, and prayer, the Council has deemed that the proposed development of a gas station, restaurant, and convenience store at the current Elsa’s Restaurant site is not consistent with Epiphany’s mission to love Jesus and serve others. The Council voted at its special meeting on February 2 to not relinquish the parking easement Epiphany holds on the aforementioned property for the following reasons:

1) Safety concerns that accompany running a 24-hour-a-day operation, including an additional 3,000 patron vehicles, 3-4 semi-trucks to refill gas pumps, and multiple vendor delivery trucks at this location:

  • Increased security risks for church and preschool with greater traffic coming off the highway.
  • Parking lot safety issues at church and preschool, as Epiphany is already a cut- through for many area drivers.
  • Traffic pattern that may impede an evacuation of Bethany Village’s nursing home and/or Epiphany Lutheran Church during preschool, worship, or large events.

2) Environmental Safety concerns affecting neighborhood, area businesses, Bethany Village, as well as Epiphany’s preschool and worshipping community, including impacts such as fumes, spills, or leakage of underground tanks.

3) Quality of life issues for all neighbors, including:

  • Light pollution and traffic noise, 24 hours a day.
  • Greater quantity of litter due to the convenience store.

The Epiphany Congregation Council supports a development on the current Elsa’s site that is consistent with the welfare of the whole community. This means a new development supported by Epiphany would provide valuable services to the community while ensuring the continued safety of area residents, worshipers, preschool families, Bethany Village residents, staff and visitors, and businesses.

Questions and concerns may be addressed to me as Council President or to Pastor Julie.


Your Brother in Christ,

Anthony Brown

Epiphany Council President

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