Jehovah's Witnesses await decision on Harrison Twp. assembly hall

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - The Jehovah's Witnesses want to build a regional assembly hall in an industrial park in Harrison Township, but it's an area that has been specifically designated for economic development.

The county's rural zoning commission has already denied the group's request, and now the religious group is appealing to county commissioners.

County commissioners heard about two hours of testimony on Wednesday, including a presentation from Jehovah's Witnesses, like Mark Lahfdany, who says they would prove to be an asset to Harrison Township.

"Because of the types of families that come to visit these types of events as well as the spending that takes place in the community," said Lahfdany. "We know we bring positive economic value to a community."

In our commitment to balanced news, we talked to Matt Euson, who own 3S Fire Protection in the Harrison Industrial Park.

He says he objects to the Jehovah's Witnesses building on land governed by a Joint Economic Development District or JEDD.

"Meaning light industrial, retail, other like businesses, you know these industrial parks do best when all the businesses in that park are similar," said Euson.

Harrison mayor Joel McGuire says a lot of taxpayer money has been spent on the property to attract jobs and tax revenue.

"We've invested too much taxpayer money to responsibly just fold on that investment and allow this particular project to go forward," he said.

County Commissioners could take several weeks before making a decision, but the Jehovah's Witnesses say approving their assembly hall is the morally correct thing to do.

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