by Terry Rogers
Milford City Council recently approved a request from the Milford First Baptist Church, located at 6062 Old Shawnee Road, to expand their parking lot. The expansion would provide the church with 87 additional spaces.
“The sidewalk will require the construction of a stormwater management pond due to the increased amount of impervious surface on the property,” City Planner Rob Pierce said. “And they’ve obtained their approval from the Conservation District for that design work. The final site plans have been reviewed for compliance with our zoning ordinance and subdivision code. construction plans have been reviewed by the city engineer for compliance with construction standards. The planning commission reviewed the conditional use application at the Feb. 15 meeting and recommended approval upon a vote of five to zero as stated in the ordinance without any additional conditions.”
Eric Heishman, a deacon at the church and Pastor David Perdue were available to council to answer any questions.
“Simply said, following our change in service schedules migrating from two morning worship services to one, we need to provide additional parking following this consolidation of services,” Heishman said. “We’ve considered that is necessary buffering from adjacent neighbors, thus having a minimum six foot vinyl fence installed, protecting them from both headlights and any increased noise from vehicles or pedestrians making their way to the church. We’ve also considered the lighting impact of our neighbors and our engineers subsequently designed the parking area light not to impede on our neighboring properties so that it only lights the necessary area within the parking structure.”
Councilman Dan Marabello asked if the church planned to add any additional landscaping and Heishman stated that they did not as they did not believe it was necessary. During the public hearing portion of the meeting, Linda Bretzer asked when the church planned to start expanding the parking lot.
“Since we’ve been three years at this project so far, as soon as possible,” Heishman said. “We’re talking to the site engineer at this point in time. So, I would say early spring is what we’re looking for.”
Council approved the request with a vote of eight to zero. Councilman Mike Boyle stated his yes vote was due to the Planning Commission’s five to zero vote and because there did not appear to be any opposition from the neighbors.
“With the decrease in number of services, their parking area with the increased parking is necessary to satisfy the needs of the community,” Councilman Andy Fulton said.
Councilman Jason James felt there was no negative effect on the adjoining neighbors while Councilman Brian Baer agreed, stating that the changes fit in with the neighborhood.
“This will benefit the people in that community attending services,” Councilwoman Nirmala Samaroo said.”
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