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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

St. Andrews Proposed Parking Lot Plans Progress

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. FTM. 
Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church wants to build a 23 space parking lot next to their church on South Fort Thomas Avenue and Chalfonte, but some residents are voicing concern for the project.

As is required, the church has applied for a variance which took them before the city’s Board of Adjustments that reviews such applications. Members of the church as well as residents on nearby Chalfonte Place and Nicholas spoke at the initial hearing held October 25. The board also met on November 22, with less discussion taking place then.

At the October meeting, the church claimed that it needs additional parking closer to its building for its aging population. They also stated the project would include the addition of a driveway that would allow for a circular flow of traffic entering on Chalfonte Place and exiting on South Fort Thomas Avenue which would also allow for handicapped parking as well as for hearses to park for funerals.
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At the initial public hearing, Chalfonte residents voiced such concerns as increased traffic on the street that could potentially be safety issues, a loss of needed greenspace within the city and a multitude of parking near the church that, according to them, is not being fully utilized.

The Board of Adjustment expressed a few concerns, but as Jim Beineke, Chairman of the BOA, said, "None of these is insurmountable."

According to the plans the church has sent to the city, the parking lot would use less than half of the green space at the corner of South Fort Thomas Avenue and Saint Nicholas Place. The project would require fill to a depth of up to fifteen feet at its deepest point. The parking lot would also sit atop a paper street that runs next to the church and behind the homes on Nicholas. The right of way belongs to city so they can maintain the utilities that run through the area.

Residents raised concerns about a proposed driveway to be built on Chalfonte Place saying that it would take away valuable parking. Chalfonte resident, Blake Brokering, explained how his property, that adjoins the church’s property would be affected. He said that the driveway would run past his kitchen and dining room and would disrupt the the peace and quiet of the street, create safety concerns, and decrease their property values.

Broering said that his home had been in his family for over 70 years.

Site of the proposed driveway. FTM file. 

Jim Beineke said that there were several issues that need to be addressed before a decision on the variance request can be made and recommended continuing the matter at the November meeting.  The result of the November meeting resulted in a continuance until the January meeting of the board so the church and city can review and adjust plans.

"My understanding is that they will come back with a revised plan," Beineke said.

Father Jeff Queen, pastor of St Andrew’s, says that the church has wanted to build a parking lot since the 1950s but the resources have not been available until recently when they sold the parsonage on Sweetbriar. They worked with Cardinal engineering and developed a plan that they presented to the city in October.

"The two big concerns were the driveway and the green space itself," said Queen. "For our purposes we are trying to keep the parking lot as close to the building as possible to help service our elderly congregants and it would be nice to have something close for them. "

So plans are being revised from the original plans submitted to the city in October.

According to Queen, the actual parking lot will hug the building as much as possible. The smaller trees will need to be removed but the larger trees will remain intact. He also said that the church wants to make the lot as environmentally friendly as possible. He revealed that the new plans will not include the driveway coming off Chalfonte.

"So there will only be the one drive on South Fort Thomas Avenue.  The edge of the parking lot will be about where the stone wall is now that runs along the property," he said.

He added that the church would like to fill in the lot and turn it into a more useable and easily accessible green space for the church and community.

"We want to try to be good neighbors. We want to bring the property close to grade but we want to protect the large trees. Our concern is to keep the integrity of the space." 

This could result in an exciting and welcome green space that would be more functional than the current bowl.

Site of proposed parking lot adjacent to to St Andrew's church. FTM file. 
Queen said that the church is trying to be more forward thinking.

One of the things that they are investigating is using permeable materials to build the parking lot so they can avoid installing large collection tanks that would retain storm runoff and then leach the water back into the soil. A permeable surface would be environmentally friendly as well as reduce heat issues commonly associated with asphalt or concrete lots.  

The church will present its revised plans in January.

1 comment:

  1. As the song goes... "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot".