Planning Commission approves expansion to Harvest church

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home Planning Commission Monday approved a conditional use permit for Harvest Christian Center to build a new sanctuary to accommodate a growing congregation.

The church, 4231 Long St., currently meets twice on Sundays, said Pastor Mark Woody, and the second service is nearly at capacity.

“Our congregation is continuing to increase at such a rate our current building is no longer large enough to adequately accommodate the needs of our worshipers, particularly on Sunday mornings,” Woody said.

The new sanctuary will add 9,600 square feet with a capacity of 500. The building will accommodate a mezzanine of 3,200 square feet in the future as needed.

The plan increases paved parking from 30 to 130 spaces, and a manufactured home on the property now will be removed.

“It looks like you’re preparing a nice facility,” said Planning Commission Chairman Henry Wolthuis.

The Planning Commission voted 7-0 to approve the permit.

Present at the meeting and voting yes were Ned Kilpatrick, James Goble, Greg Stephens, Wolthuis, Eva Jurney, Lance Gatchell and Edie Wilcox.

In other business, the commission:

n Denied a request for five variances to allow Northern Investments, represented by Josh Victor, to site a 1980s era singlewide manufactured home at 1364 Quince St.

Victor had requested variances to the width requirement to allow a singlewide instead of a doublewide; to the requirement to place a carport with the home; to the roof pitch to allow the flat roof of the singlewide he planned to site; to the rear setback requirement of 15 feet to allow a 10-foot setback, providing more space to the occupants; and to the minimum size of 1,000 square feet to allow 840 square feet.

“As you may have noticed from the plans I included, a significant slope exists along the west side fo the property,” Manuel Victor, Josh Victor’s father and owner of Northern Investments, told the commission in the application. “This prevents me from placing a 28-foot doublewide on the property and conforming with the placement guidelines.

“This slope would affect the appearance of the carport, which we think would negatively impact the appearance of the property.”

Josh Victor said the neighborhood already has two singelwides, which have been there for many years.

Victor told the commission that if he had to, he could fit a doublewide unit on the property, but it would be much closer to the neighboring homes; and a singlewide would look more like what is there now.

Normally, he said, he would place a doublewide, and had he known there was opposition, he would not have submitted the application.

Seven neighbors signed a letter outlining their concerns. First was that a singlewide would cause property values to decrease.

Second, they said, Quince Street is already in poor condition and allowing the variances would add traffic to the road.

Third, the area already has drainage problems, and allowing the variances would add to the problem with more run-off from the roof.

Fourth, allowing the variances, the trailer would be placed near a loose 8-foot embankment made of fill material.

Residents Johnny Lippert and Sam Clemens added that they purchased their homes because they didn’t want to live in a trailer park, because the city’s codes prohibit singlewides outside of parks.

Building permit technician Molly Laycock told the commission that Victor could build a doublewide on the lot and allowing a singlewide would

“Minimum width requirements were set up for the city to raise the standards for the community,” Laycock said. “Allowing singlewide homes perpetuates the lower standards. A carport is required at all homes within the city. Waiving this requirement perpetuates the lower standards. These standards are usually kept within mobile home parks.”

Victor said that siting a doublewide, which he would do without approval of the variances, would create some of the same problems, such as traffic and runoff.

Gatchell said the request doesn’t meet criteria for variances based on the testimony that it would decrease property values in the neighbors’ testimony.

Jurney said five variances was excessive.

“I do understand that it’s a non-comforming lot (smaller than allowed in low-density residential zones),” Jurney said, but “as a commissioner, my first obligation is to uphold the standard as written, and I do have to consider the testimony of the neighbors. I see more reason to deny than approve.”

“I’m not sure that’s the best use of that property, and it does drop the development standard of our city,” Stephens said.

The commission voted 7-0 to deny.

Victor said he would just pull something else out to site on the property.

n Approved a request 7-0 for a conditional use permit to build an RV cover, a secondary use, on a property with no primary use, such as a house, for Richard Lannom at 1568 59th Ave. Lannom owns two lots. His house is on one, while the other is empty. The RV cover will be built near the property line to allow for potential construction of a home there.

n Recommended 7-0 that the City Council approve of fence ordinance revisions.

Among the proposed changes, maximum fence height will increase from 6 feet to 7 feet.

Hedges will be limited to the height requirements of fences within 5 feet of the property line, and the ordinance will define how much fence repair can be done before a fence permit is required, up to 25 percent of the fence.