West Point citizens express concern over construction on Springville Road
Published 9:00 am Friday, July 1, 2022
By Chase Davis
WEST POINT – At Wednesday’s West Point City Council work session, citizens expressed concern over a new construction project on Springville road.
The project, which was initially permitted by the city as a two-story expansion to a local homeowner’s house, seemingly went within the scope of its initial permit. When construction began, there were numerous complaints by citizens about the size of the addition. According to discussion at the meeting, after city officials went to investigate, they found that the house extension had clearly started work on the construction of a third floor.
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In response, the city issued a stop work order and began an investigation of the property. They concluded that the extension was intended to be used as a boarding facility for up to eight additional residents. Not only was this not initially discussed in the permit, it would violate that area’s single-family low-density zoning requirements.
It was later discovered that the property owner, Rusty Mills, established a non-profit organization known as Brotherhood Life Incorporated with 113 Springville Road as the primary address. According to their GoFundMe Page, Brotherhood Life Mission supports men with PTSD from all causes, and works to provide “temporary food and housing to men needing help.” The GoFundMe page notes that all donations will go directly to expanding the mission house and that upon completion, it will feature “eight bedrooms and multiple spaces to be used for physical, emotional and spiritual healing.”
Several citizens expressed their concern about having such a facility in that area of West Point. Citizen Josh Dunn noted that many community members were worried about the potential effects that the mission house would have on the surrounding residents.
“The additional traffic is one concern, as [Springville Rd] is a small street,” Dunn noted. “The biggest concern though, is that the place is going to be an unlicensed treatment center for men with mental disorders … As a military veteran I get it, but this is not the place for it.”
When contacted, Mills denied that his non-profit serves as a treatment center in any regard.
“[Brotherhood Life Inc] is a 501(c)4 advocacy group for veterans and other men with PTSD,” Mills said. “Unfortunately, Councilman [Joel] Finley has misinterpreted my work with veterans and my offer to help men who are suicidal as a business doing psychiatric care. We are far from that.”
Furthermore, he noted that the house extension would be used as a boarding facility but instead noted that the space would be used to house guests for holiday celebrations.
“It’s really sad that the City of West Point has used these rumors to infringe upon my personal religious freedom, my right to invite friends to my home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and to complete my home,” Mills said.
According to city attorney Alex Dixon, the city of West Point has revoked Mills’ permit and has no intention to reissue another one. Currently, construction on the project has been halted until further action is taken.