Senoia okays church on Rockaway Rd.

The Senoia City Council Aug. 2 unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the 12,000 square-foot Legacy Christian Church to be constructed on 19 acres on the northwest corner of Rockaway Road and Heritage Pointe Parkway.

The council’s approval followed a public hearing and review of the request by the Senoia Planning Commission. The commission recommended approval with a number of conditions. The council in its approval also noted that any revisions to the site plan must come back to the city council.

Church plans call for the construction of a 12,000 square-foot building to include a sanctuary, classrooms, offices and a kitchen. Future plans calls for expanding the building to 20,000 square feet.

The property will have an entrance along Heritage Pointe Parkway and another along Rockaway Road.

Addressing the question of whether the property is appropriate for use by a church, city administrator Richard Ferry said having a church at the location should be appropriate and should not have a negative impact on neighboring property values.

“Churches can be seen as a negative externality because of the potential for negative impacts such as traffic. However, it can also be argued that a church is a positive amenity to a residential area. Historically speaking, churches in Senoia have been constructed in residential areas, in the transition zones and in commercial areas,” Ferry said in a memo the council members. “I don’t think that there is a negative impact on the property value of any home near to Senoia Methodist Church or Senoia Baptist Church.”

“That said, this will be the first church that is located outside of the historic district that is in a residential zone. The homes in Heritage Pointe have brick and stone fronts. A portion of the Heritage Pointe clubhouse is rock. The front of the proposed church should also be a material that is similar to fronts of the buildings in Heritage Pointe,“ Ferry continued. “If the impacts are properly mitigated, I don’t expect that there will be a decline in property values for moderate-sized churches such as the one proposed here.

The conceptual plan cited proposed and future parking needs at approximately 400 spaces as required by the city. But Ferry recommended, and the council agreed, that the requirement be waived for now to 250 spaces until the ministry grows sufficiently to require the additional parking spaces.

The traffic flow report showed that at the current membership of 160 church members there would be a total of 75 trips to the property on weekdays and 158 trips on Sundays.

Church members reside primarily in Coweta and Fayette counties.

Though a number of church members were present, only two residents spoke during the public hearing. Twin Lakes residents Mary Provost spoke in favor of the proposal while Heritage Pointe resident Don Rehman did not object but did think some restrictions to the request were needed.

In the end, the council by unanimous vote approved the conditional use permit with several conditions.

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