Church variance still questioned

By Lenny C. Lepola -

Sunbury Village Council heard a second reading of an ordinance that would approve Sunbury Christian Church’s request for three divergences on its 11-acre site at the south end of Sunbury Meadows on the east side of State Route 3.

During its April 4 meeting, the village planning commission approved a reduction of parking-space size from 10 feet wide by 20 feet deep to 9 feet by 18 feet, a reduction of parking lot aisle width from 24 feet to 22 feet, and an increase in building height from 35 feet to roof peak to 42 feet to roof peak and a 30-foot steeple.

During last week’s second reading by council, Sunbury’s consulting engineer Wes Hall said he still believes that the 24-foot parking lot aisle width would work on the triangular site.

“It’s not that 24 feet won’t work,” Hall said. “The layout would just be a little tighter, but better for larger vehicles.”

Greg Eller, of Eller Architecture, citing American Electric Power and Marathon Oil easements along one side of the building site, said he believes the 22-foot parking lot aisle width would work for church use.

“Going to 24 feet is doable, but it would cause us to move our schedule backwards and move the building,” Eller said.

If the divergences are approved during a third reading at the May 4 council meeting followed by the statutory 30-day waiting period before the ordinance becomes effective, the 11-month Phase I of the project should begin during the first week in June.

Phase I approval is for a 25,000 square-foot church building with 198 parking spaces. Later phases will include two additional buildings at 14,000 square feet each, plus recreation fields and commensurate parking

Eller said future phases would be contingent on sale of the church’s Rainbow Street property.

In other business, Hall said an estimate to complete paving the empty lot at the southwest corner of Cherry and Columbus streets for parking lot use is $89,000, including a 15 percent contingency.

Hall said the estimate includes storm sewer work and landscaping. After a bid is accepted, Hall said the project should take six to eight weeks to complete.

Council member Scott Weatherby said members of council’s parks and services committee toured all village-owned parkland on April 12.

“We hope to formalize a parks master plan for the next 10 to 12 years,” Weatherby said. “We should do a public survey, but it behooves us to do this now as we continue to grow.”

By Lenny C. Lepola

Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093

Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093