The Congress Avenue Baptist Church is asking to up-zone the back half of their lot that faces Nickerson from SF-3 to GR with a Conditional Overlay. The church has “civic use” which allows them to build structures like buildings and parking lots on SF-3 zoned land as long as it is for church use. Recently, CABC started leasing out their parking lot to HomeSlice for overflow parking but this is technically not allowed due to it not being a church-specific use. Despite no complaints from the neighborhood, they are attempting to get the necessary zoning for this use to be legal.
While CABC is proposing to limit the GR zoning to only parking use, the up-zoning of that portion of the lof from SF-3 is potentially problematic for the direct neighbors. It could allow CABC to do more intensive parking usage on the lot and it potentially opens the door to non residential development by a future owner of the property.
In order to accomplish this up-zoning, CABC needs to also get a Neighborhood Plan amendment. The GSRC Neighborhood Plan Contact Team has reviewed the proposal and issued a letter opposing the plan amendment due to the fact that it is in conflict with the intent of the neighborhood plan, the intended use of the property could negatively affect the neighboring properties, and it sets a precedent for commercial zoning creeping into the neighborhood.
Representatives for CABC came to the June 3rd SRCC General Membership meeting to discuss the proposal. There was concern over the up-zoning for all the reasons that the NPCT mentioned. CABC is also looking into a proposal that would require an amendment to the Fairview Park NCCD. CABC will return to a future SRCC meeting with their final proposal.