Trinity Lutheran Church, Athens, is a step closer to acquiring a Commerce site for Bible studies, thanks to action taken by the Commerce Planning Commission Monday night.
Assuming the Commerce City Council accepts the commission’s recommendation to make churches a permitted use in the OCR (office-commercial-residential) zone when it meets Aug. 18, the church can set up shop in a house at 1096 South Broad Street it plans to rent from city council member Donald Wilson. It is the church’s first step in what could eventually lead to a full-blown church in the community.
The church originally sought a change from OCR to C-2 (commercial) zoning, but the planning commission recommended that the city council deny the change because it amounted to “spot zoning.” The council accepted that recommendation, but requested that the planning commission pursue the OCR amendment.
The only real concern for the planning commission was whether allowing churches would inhibit commercial growth — restaurants and convenience stores that want to sell alcohol. The law requires certain distances separating establishments that sell alcohol by the drink (450 feet) or by the package (300 feet) from schools, colleges, parks or churches.
Chairman Joe Leffew pointed out that many of the community’s churches are already located in the OCR zones.
“Because of where they are,” he observed, “the amendment would not change the restrictions.”
For the full story of the planning commission meeting, see the July 30 issue of The Commerce News.