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Neighbors furious as Nashville church moves forward with tiny home community for homeless

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(WZTV)

Supporters of putting a homeless community at a South Nashville Church won a major victory Thursday.

Metro's Board of Zoning Appeals upheld a decision to grant Glencliff United Methodist Church's right to build the homes. The board said it's a religious right protected by law, even though the property isn't zoned for the development of 22 tiny homes.

Jill Fagan is among those who weren't happy with the decision.

"It's a huge security issue," said Fagan. "They will not have anyone on the property at night."

Opponents like Fagan packed the meeting to show their opposition. Michelle Kelly said the development would change what she allows her children to do.

"My child walks up and down to the grocery store for me," said Kelly. "I can't have him doing that now as I don't know what's going in there."

The opposition's attorney argued the church really shouldn't have been the one applying for the religious exception because Open Table Nashville will be building the homes and running the development.

Valerie Stringer argued that's not the case at all with her congregation.

"It's something we decided as a church and started talking about really before Open Table got involved," said Stringer.

The Board of Zoning Appeals agreed, which all but clears the way for the homes to be built assuming they pass codes requirements.

Opponents will have the option of appealing the decision, but as of Thursday night no decision had been made about that.

Rev. Ingrid McIntyre said it's undetermined exactly when construction will begin, but she believes the homes could be life changing for the residents who will stay in them.

The group expects two thirds of the residents will be homeless people getting out of the hospital. The remaining residents will come from Open Table's outreach.

"Hopefully this will be a step where we can work with 22 people, get them into permanent housing and hopefully save them from dying on the streets," McIntyre said.