DAVENPORT - Alderman Ray Ambrose apologized to Timothy's House of Hope. The church's meal site was shut down last week after just ten days because of a zoning issue.
Alderman Ambrose gave this statement at Wednesday night's city council, “Ive been informed they’ve received bad counsel regarding the zoning when they purchased their property on Washington street. It's very unfortunate because going through the proper zoning process could have avoided many of the problems and anger that is happening now. Davenport has a zoning process that’s open and transparent, one that allows neighbors a voice whats happening in their neighborhoods and it also insures the council and staff have the opportunity to hear and understand the neighbors concerns. In some instances requires zoning process requires changes that will protect the homeowners, businesses, and neighborhoods. I hope you accept my apology.”
Many business owners came to the meeting to come to Ambrose's defense.
Business owners on Washington Street say they don't feel its unfair that the church didn't take the proper steps to open when it's required of everyone else. They also say they've been trying to clean up the neighborhood up and they're worried Timonthy's House of Hope won't bring a good image to the neighborhood.
"Believe it or not they opened business illegally in my eyes. I don't feel fair. It's an injustice to me as a business owner," said Rick Piatt.
The church says Alderman Ambrose gave out letters to business owners to try to corral them on his side.
Pastor Nick Cantwell is asking the council to reopen the church, “The city council makes the decision. Are they going to do the right thing or are they going to do the comfortable thing? I’m asking you tonight as city council to do the right thing."
Aldermen say it could take up to six weeks to decide if the church can operate the site.