Parks/Trails/Greenspaces Second Ponce campus map

Published on June 1st, 2016 |

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Second Ponce seeks to replace 4 residences on Wesley with green space

Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church went before the Neighborhood Planning Unit-B Zoning Committee Tuesday night seeking a special use permit to allow it to replace four current R-4 residential properties on East Wesley Road with green space for limited public use.

The above site plan is what was shown to NPU-B Zoning Committee members May 31 as what the church plans put in place of the four residences it plans to demolish.

The above site plan is what was shown to NPU-B Zoning Committee members May 31 as what the church plans put in place of the four residences it plans to demolish.

The church owns four parcels, at 66, 76, 80 and 86 East Wesley Road NE, that have homes dating to the 1940s and 1950s. The buildings had been divided up into 16 apartments that were rented out by the church. They have been vacant since last summer.

No one on the Zoning Committee had issue with tearing down the residential properties and replacing them with green space.

But some members of the Zoning Committee were not too pleased with the fact that the green space would be fenced and locked off from public use, except on Sundays while church is in session, and otherwise through special approval through the church office.

Attorney Vicki Chung and church administrator Jeff Miller told the committee the reason for controlling access to the green space—which is intended for use by the church’s young children’s and youth programs—is an insurance liability issue.

Before the church appeared before NPU-B regarding the special use permit, an ordinance was heard on first reading recently by the City Council Zoning Committee that would allow the special use permit or Second Ponce Church.

Normallly that means that the application would then go to the affected neighborhood(s) to review and then to the NPU-B Zoning Committee. After the NPU review process is completed, it would go to the full City Council for final approval.

The special-use permit would allow a worship facility and private school on the land, but Miller and Chung said that’s not in the current plans. “We’ll take the buildings down and landscape, have some walking trails, maybe a little picnic area — but no construction,” Miller said.

However, there is no guarantee that this would remain a green space forever.

The NPU-B Zoning Committee voted 6-0 with 1abstention, which means the church’s application will have to be heard by the full NPU-B board on June 7.

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