Sunbury’s planning and zoning commission has approved amendments to Sunbury Christian Church’s development plan.
Mayor Tommy Hatfield, a member of the congregation, abstained from the vote.
The amended development plan now goes to Village Council for an April 6 public hearing and a first reading.
Following a motion to approve the divergences, village Solicitor David Brehm said the motion would be contingent on final engineering and legal approval.
Greg Eller of Eller Architecture, representing members of Sunbury Christian Church, attended a Feb. 22 public hearing to discuss several zoning divergences the congregation wants to make to its approved development plan for the fellowship’s project at the south end of Sunbury Meadows section east of State Route 3.
Eller asked for a reduction of parking space size, a reduction of parking lot aisle width, and an increase in building height.
Village code specifies parking spaces that are 10 feet wide by 20 feet deep; Eller asked for a reduction to 9 feet by 18 feet. Zoning codes call for a 24-foot parking lot aisle; Eller asked for 22 feet.
“The aisle we’re requesting would help reduce encroachment of the parking lot on lot setbacks and utility easements,” Eller said. “The aisle next to the building is 32 feet. We’re only asking for a divergence on the two parking lot aisles.”
The new church building would be 42 feet to the peak of the roof; village code limits building height in that zoning area to 35 feet. With the addition of a 30-foot steeple, the building would reach 72 feet above grade.
Sunbury’s consulting engineer Wes Hall, of CT Consultants, said the steeple would be exempt from code, and granting a divergence for the additional seven feet of building height to the roof peak should not be a problem.
“The building is well within the property line, in excess of 100 feet in each direction,” Hall said. “That additional building height would not be a visual problem.”
There was a brief discussion about American Electric Power and Marathon Oil easements crossing the property that would limit large tree use for screening; and zoning commission members noted the village’s major sanitary sewer trunk line that skirts the edge of the property, also limiting large trees that could impact the sewer line with root growth.
“No light poles are allowed in the AEP’s easement area,” Hall said. “You will have to use directional lighting; that will be a bit of a challenge. Del-Co Water has requested an easement across the property; that could become a condition.”
Hall noted that the church has agreed to build a sidewalk along State Route 3, and asked that trees in the area be preserved where possible.
“Because no trees are allowed in the Marathon and AEP easements, and shrubs no more than three feet high in the Marathon easement and four feet high in the AEP easement, plant and tree sizes need to be specified on final construction drawings,” Hall said. “We would also want a site lighting plan added to the final drawings.”
Eller said the 11-month Phase I of the project should begin during the first week in June; future phases would be contingent on sale of church’s Rainbow Street property.
Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.
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