Bethel Village Extension Denied, Again

The Panama City Rescue Mission may have lost it's three year legal battle to expand the Bethel Village Home for Women and Children.

Judge Michael Overstreet upheld the city of Springfield's decision to deny Bethel Village a development permit to build as many as 19 news homes on the 6 and a half acre campus.

The decision disappointed Panama City Rescue Mission officials, who don't know if they will pursue further legal action. "Trying to overturn that may be just a futile effort," said Rescue Mission Executive Director, Reverend Billy Fox.

Neighbors were pleased with the decision.

"It's people's homes and those people are very emotional about it," said Zana Ireland, a business owner next door. "They do not want to see their children threatened or their property threatened.

Fox feels like neighbord and officials made up their minds without having all the facts.

"We put a lot of time, more than three years, into this. We tried to be absolutely open and transparent with what we intended to do and we thought we had approval up until the point they denied the developmental order," he said.

But Springfield city attorney Kevin Obos says, the history speaks volumes.

"When you make the leap from not just a transitional home for women and children to actually a rescue mission for females, it was easier for the police chief to - it wouldn't so much be speculation because we have evidence from 2, 3 miles away in Panama City and what's happening."

Rescue Mission officials have 30 days to appeal Judge Overstreet's decisions.


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