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Neighbors in Roswell wary of church’s bid to use home for meeting space
March 13, 2013 10:24 AM | 3207 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By Joan Durbin

Both sides of a zoning issue turned out in force at Monday night’s Roswell city council meeting, but left without a decision from council.

Councilwoman Nancy Diamond got a 5-1 vote to postpone a council vote on a conditional use application by World Harvest Church to turn a residential property owned by the church into office and meeting space.

A new set of conditions offered by the church to mitigate the impact on the adjacent neighborhood needed more review by residents and council members, she said.

“I think we need to sit down with everyone and go through these,” Diamond said, adding that she hadn’t talked at length about the new conditions with the applicant.

The application, which included several variances, is for 1.7 acres at 275 Hardscrabble Road, which is zoned suburban residential. There is a pool on the property which would be used for church activities.

As meeting space, the site would need 30 parking spaces. The church would add nine parking spaces to the site and have other people park at the church and be shuttled to the site.

Roswell’s planning commission and its planning staff recommended denial of the application before the new conditions were proposed.

In its memo to council, the staff said the community development department thought the intensified use of the property would be incompatible with the neighborhood.

Many residents who were at Monday’s hearing agreed and have opposed the application.

Architect John Carruth, representing the church, told the council the planning commission was “concerned about the lack of limitations” on the property if it were to be used for meeting and office space.

So the church voluntarily came up with a new list of conditions it would agree to, he said, such as limiting the number of people on site to 25 and restricting the times of day the pool and property can be used.

Carruth asked the council to go forward with the hearing and a vote rather than delay it.

Councilwoman Betty Price agreed, saying, “This is our public hearing, and I think it’s important we hear from the people.” But three residents, including a representative of the homeowners’ association from Wexford, the nearest neighborhood to the church property, said more time to review the newly proposed conditions would be beneficial.

“I think it’s important for the neighborhood to have input to this application,” said Councilman Rich Dippolito.

Although he does not vote unless there is a tie, Mayor Jere Wood said he thought that church officials, who have shown a willingness to compromise, should have more time to work things out with the neighborhood. “I think in the long term, working things out with your neighbors is always better than getting us to decide,” he said.

What's next?:
The application was deferred to the council’s April 8 meeting.

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