BELLEFONTAINE NEIGHBORS, Mo. – Alderman James Carroll said mounting noise complaints from residents in Bellefontaine Neighbors caused by a helicopter led to more findings at Influence Church.
“If you’re sitting there on a Sunday morning eating breakfast and you hear this helicopter landing, it’s a disturbance,” Carroll said.
The alderman said the noise complaints led to him finding out the church needs an occupancy permit, along with a building inspection, and is behind on property taxes.
“I think you have a right to what you want on your own property. But when it starts interfering and disturbing what’s going on in your neighborhood, and stuff like that, then that’s where it becomes an issue,” Carroll said.
“I represent this area, so the people who complain contact me about the issue and, as their elected official, I believe it’s something I address, and I do something about it.”
Has the city done anything about the situation?
“That’s a good question. I have no answer to that,” Carroll said.
Influence Church chief of staff Rich Jaudes said the city asked the church to re-submit documents.
“Monday morning, tomorrow, they wanted us to call and file a reinspection; it was as simple as that. They said that there would be no issues, that we would just be able to work things out,” Jaudes said.
He said the church helps feed thousands and said Carroll may have something against the church.
“I think it’s a racial issue,” Jaudes said.
One member on her way into Sunday’s service and asked to remain anonymous said Carroll needs to move along.
“Leave us alone and leave him alone. Helicopter don’t bother me, the church don’t bother me, back here in the woods ain’t bothering me. What’s bothering me is that the devil wanna bother us,” she said.
Carroll said he’s doing his job and the situation has nothing to do with race.
“If I have somebody who complains to me, and I’ve had repeated complaints about this property, I’m going to do something about it. But I’m certainly not going to go look for something,” Carroll said.