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New church sign still in limbo

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

When they approached the town of Pulaski in September about installing a new sign, Richard Hall said board members of First Pentecostal Holiness Church (Family Worship Center) had no idea it would cause such a problem.

Tuesday night, the matter got even more complicated when Pulaski Town Council decided to put the matter on hold pending additional information.

The church has petitioned to rezone its property at 955 Memorial Drive from Residential (R-1) to Local Business (B-1). Rezoning is needed in order to accommodate a total of 216 square feet of signage that will exist on the property once the new sign is installed.

The request was heard by Pulaski Planning Commission in October and November, but ended up in council’s court, with an assumed recommendation of approval, when time expired for the planners to act. Council now has 35 days to act on the application or it will automatically be deemed as approved.

Tuesday night, Councilman Joseph Goodman moved to table the matter until council’s next meeting (Tuesday, Jan. 15) when colleague, Greg East, expressed concern about the B-1 zoning request. East said he is concerned that B-1 zoning would open the possibility of multi-family housing on the property if the church were ever sold.

Goodman asked why B-1 was requested.

“The only reason we chose B-1 was because we wanted to install a new sign,” said Hall, noting that R-1 districts limit signage to no more than 50 square feet. As for future use of the property, Hall said the church has no plans of moving or selling the property.

Regardless of the church’s intentions, town attorney David Warburton pointed out it is council’s duty to consider the request in light of what is best for the town as a whole, not just now, but in the future, as well.

East apologized to Hall for making the matter more complicated. However, he said he feels additional information is needed before action is taken.

East and some other council members seemed interested in splitting the zoning of the lot, with the front portion being B-1 and the back portion staying R-1.

During the planning commission meetings, some residents of Camper Street, at the rear of the church property, did not like the idea of a business zone abutting their land. Town officials said the residents did not object to split zoning, though.

Several council members seemed interested in rezoning a portion of the property along Memorial Drive to B-1 and leaving the rest R-1. Warburton suggested specifying a parallel line a certain number of feet from Memorial Drive in order to identify the area to be rezoned.

The question council seems interested in answering is how many feet from Memorial Drive the B-1 zone needs to extend into the church property to encompass the buildings and the area where the sign will be located.

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