PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - People who live in central Phoenix want answers after a demolition notice popped up in their neighborhood.

The small sign, placed on the corner of 15th and Maryland avenues, is a demolition request and lists the applicant as the Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church.

[WATCH: Neighbors worried about demolition at historic church in north central Phoenix]

Right now, two schools rent the surrounding buildings. School leaders tell me they're in touch with the lead pastor and are aware their leases won't be renewed.

Some neighbors are frustrated that the church hasn't called a community meeting to talk about the possible changes.

Chris Jackson lives across the street from the church. He loves the charm of the neighborhood and is concerned the dozen or so towering mature pine trees that line the street will be removed.

City of Phoenix Planning and Development public information officer Angie Holdsworth told Arizona's Family the developer had a pre-application meeting where the proposal called for about 30 homes. Since it's so early in the process, those proposed plans could change.

"I'm not trying to stop construction," said Jackson. "We would just like some communication, either what to expect or listen to what our concerns are before construction begins."

The mid-century modern church's bell tower and main worship area are not included in the demolition plans.

"The earliest demo could take place is Sept. 27 and would be valid for a year. The application would impact five buildings and would not apply to the removal of trees," wrote Holdsworth.

Holdsworth explained the church will have to submit a separate application to let the City know what their plans are for the trees.

A tree expert told Arizona's Family it's not possible to transplant those mature trees somewhere else because the root ball is too big. They'd need heavy equipment, and the survival rate would be low.

"They're not replaceable," said Jackson.

A woman who answered the church office phone said the church will not close. It'll stay open, and only the surrounding buildings will be impacted.

"It's their property," said neighbor Doug Askerman. "Pretty much they have a right to do whatever they want with their property. However, at that point when it starts infringing on other people, then it becomes a problem, and I think that's what's happening here."

Some neighbors who didn't want to be identified said they're in favor of homes, no matter what style, as long as they're not apartments because they don't want it to be too crowded.

 


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