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Countryside Christian Academy looks to save outdoor hoops court

CLEARWATER — A large church and Christian school on McMullen-Booth Road will appeal to a city board next week for the right to keep an outdoor basketball court that prompted complaints from two neighbors.

The neighbors complained about the thumping of basketballs and that Countryside Christian Academy built the court without a permit. A Clearwater planning official reviewed the case and concluded the court violates the city's noise standards.

The city's Community Development Board will take up the question on Tuesday.

Parents of the school's 155 students are pleading for the basketball court to remain so their children can exercise. They say it was built with parents' donations, and that it's located in the middle of the church's 20-acre property at 1850 McMullen Booth Road near Sunset Point Road.

The parents also note that Clearwater's public schools and city parks have outdoor play areas that are closer to neighboring homes than Countryside Christian's basketball court. And one of the church's neighbors wrote to the city to say the basketball court isn't an inconvenience for him.

The centerpiece of the court is 200 feet from any neighbor's property, said the church's attorney, Katie Cole.

"We want the neighbors to be happy if possible, and we are willing to abide by whatever the city deems necessary," said Countryside Christian's pastor, Glen Gammon. "But it's kind of strange that our court would be singled out as being too noisy for a neighbor when all these others are permitted."

As to why the court was built without the city's permission, Gammon said a construction company didn't get a permit, and the church has since parted ways with the contractor.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4160.

Countryside Christian Academy looks to save outdoor hoops court 05/15/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 15, 2009 9:03pm]
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