Sunbury church zoning plan tabled


Sunbury Christian Church’s request for approval of its building project was tabled by the village’s planning and zoning commission last week.

Greg Eller of Eller Architecture appeared before the commission Jan. 25, seeking a final application approval for Phase 1 of the church project.

In 2008, outgrowing their Rainbow Avenue church building, members of the Sunbury Christian fellowship purchased 11 acres of the Sunbury Meadows development from then-owner Dominion Homes.

Pulte Group acquired Dominion Homes in 2014, with Pulte Homes taking over the Sunbury Meadows development. The church property, located at the southern end of the Sunbury Meadows sections east of State Route 3, could not be developed until Sunbury Meadows Section 8 created site access.

Members of the fellowship approached the zoning commission in December 2014 for an informal review of their plans, and late last year Pulte Homes began developing the infrastructure of Sunbury Meadows Section 8.

Last Monday, Eller said Sunbury Christian Church’s Phase 1 would include a 25,000 square-foot sanctuary building, seating 500 people, and have 187 parking spaces. Phases 2 and 3 would add a children’s education wing and a multi-purpose facility. The site would have 370 parking spaces when completely built out.

Eller said lot setbacks are within village code, and the building’s scale and exterior finish would blend in with its residential surroundings.

Eller said that Sunbury Christian Church would ask for several divergences: a reduction of parking space size from the code-required 10-foot width by 20-foot depth to 9 by 18 feet; a reduction of parking lot aisles from 24 feet to 22 feet; and to allow the steeply pitched roof to exceed the 35-foot code restriction by an additional 10 feet.

Sunbury’s consulting engineer Wes Hall said Sunbury Christian Church would extend 72 feet above grade with the building height divergence and allowed steeple. He said that would not be a problem, considering the use and exterior finishes.

“The building looks great,” Hall said. “The use of materials is acceptable. We recommend approval on the parking space size divergence, but the parking aisle code is 24 feet. We would like to see 24 feet if possible; 22 feet is tight.”

Hall said code stipulates that the building not cover more that 25 percent of the site. Phase 1 would cover 5 percent of the site; with Phase 2 and Phase 3 added, buildings would cover only 11 percent of the site.

Hall asked for final construction drawings showing a detailed landscape plan, site lighting details, and signage designs and placement.

“We want to make sure we maintain trees along State Route 3,” Hall said. “The parking lot encroaches on a power line easement and gas line easement, so we would need confirmation from the utilities that parking lot lighting and landscaping works within the easements.”

Hall said utility access is adequate. There is a Del-Co Water Co. line in Sunbury Meadows Section 8. Fire hydrants located at the rear of building need positioned to meet fire department requirements.

“You need a letter from Del-Co Water stating that fire service water pressures are OK,” Hall said. “Sewer is no problem. You have sewer at the southeast corner that connects to a 30-inch trunk line.”

Other items Hall said he wanted to see before final plan approval was a main entrance easement from Pulte Homes along Blackbird Way – a 25-foot access easement, and a 20-foot utility easement with an agreement that the church would be responsible for maintaining that easement.

“We would also want curbs and sidewalks on both sides of Blackbird Way, and see your signage placement,” Hall said.

Hall said the divergences Sunbury Christian Church is asking for were not included in the original planned residential development agreement, and that a public hearing will be needed to approve the divergences.

The church request was tabled until the Monday, Feb. 22, zoning meeting.

By Lenny C. Lepola

For The Gazette

Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: [email protected].

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