Church gets approval for massive AC unit

Grover Potts
Grover Potts
Chiller unit
Chiller unit
Highland Presbyterian Church
Highland Presbyterian Church

Louisville, KY - By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The fight by neighbors over an air conditioning unit for a Highlands church is now over. The Louisville Metro Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission has given its approval to the unit at Highland Presbyterian Church, but some the neighbors are still frustrated with the noise level.

Grover Potts, the attorney who represents Highland Presbyterian, expected and received approval of its application from the landmarks committee for its chiller, something the church has wanted for several years.

On Oct. 13, the committee approved the application, meaning the church received, what is called, the certificate of appropriateness. In 2007, the church installed a chiller, but it needed approval because the unit changed the look of the historic site. Now, after years of dispute, the church and its neighbors are mending their differences which when the church installed a new chiller and neighbors filed suit over the noise.

"I think the church did everything it could to resolve the difficulties with its neighbors and has reached a resolution," Potts said.

According to Potts, that agreement, which was made back in August, included efforts to minimize the noise coming from the chiller, which operates from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to Noon between April and October. Potts said it is something the church has been working on for several years, but not everyone is happy.

"Now we're coming here and everybody is saying 'ok, ok, give 'em their permit and we'll all be happy' and there are many of us who are not happy," said one woman during the hearing.

That woman said she lives a block from the chiller and admitted the noise has gotten better, but added you can't enjoy being outside when the chiller is on.

"It's the idea to me the noise pollution is going to be our next big battle when you live in the city," she said.

After the Landmarks Committee heard from Potts, neighbors and the case manager, they decided to give the application the green light.

"Staff does recommend approval of applications with the condition that the additional screening is added," said Cynthia Johnson, the case manager.

That additional screening includes adding vegetation on the fence around the chiller to help with the noise.

"We're an urban church and we've tried to balance our needs with the needs of the neighborhoods," Potts said.

The issue was first brought before the Landmarks Committee in April 2009, but, according to Johnson, was because of possible conflicts of interest and new evidence, the hearing was delayed.

The Cherokee Triangle Neighborhood Association and some neighbors said they hope the chiller will be monitored annually.

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