The city of Delaware’s Historic Preservation Commission has approved the placement of an illuminated cross for the Zion United Church of Christ at its meeting on Wednesday.
The 12-foot tall by 5-foot wide aluminum cross would be mounted on an angled wall at the rear entrance of the church. The church was built between 1915 and 1917, with the angled wall added in 2001 for an elevator.
The cross would use halo-glow internal illumination and back-lit with warm white LED rope lights to create a subdued white glow halo effect. The cross would be lit from dusk to 10 p.m. daily, and later for events such as Christmas Eve services.
“This is about as tasteful and low-impact as I can imagine,” said commission Chairman Roger Koch.
Three variances were required for the approval. The cross, which the city considers to be a sign, would exceed the number of signs and area square footage of signage; the time the sign would be turned off is past 9 p.m. in a residential sub-district; and this type of lighting is not permitted in a residential sub-district.
The church is in the residential sub-district of the downtown historic district overlay at 51 W. Central Ave. It is also the site of the city’s warming center.
One commission member said they were not opposed to the cross, but was concerned about setting a precedent by granting the variances.
Also at the meeting, the commission approved the restoration of the west side of 12 WEST restaurant at 12 W. William St. The neighboring building at 14 West was recently demolished and will be rebuilt.
According to the staff report, “The applicant is presenting a proposed restoration plan for the west elevation of 12 W. William to preserve the structural integrity of this building.”
At the previous meeting in October, the commission approved a post-demolition plan for 14 W. William and a temporary exterior sidewalk entrance vestibule for 12 WEST.
Last December, there was a fire on the second floor of 12 WEST. The Mexican restaurant re-opened in April.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.