It's been a convenience store, a pizza parlour, a video store and a gas station, but the new tenants of a property in Minnow Lake are reaching a little higher in hopes of making the property a success.
Meeting on Monday, members of the planning committee passed a motion to rezone the land at the corner of Bellevue Avenue and Dale Street to become a church.
Pastor Jerry Morin of the Sudbury Community Church said members of his parish meet for prayers Wednesday evening and service Sunday morning and evening.
Senior planner Mauro Manzon said the 1,100 square foot property wasn't properly zoned for a church, and the application only looked for permission to add a church as a use for the land.
The site has a maximum of 10 parking spaces, and one nearby resident called to express concern about parking overflow onto Dale Street.
“Staff are concerned about the availability of parking,” Manzon said, but otherwise were in support of the rezoning.
Re-purposing properties such as this is one of the goals of the city's planning rules.
“We view the place of worship as a less intensive use, compared to previous uses, such as the takeout restaurant,” he said.
Dave Dorland, speaking on behalf of the landowner, said Morin has been visiting residents in the area to let them know what he had planned, and has received letters of support from most of them.
“And I think he has a commitment from a few of them to join the parish,” Dorland said. “This is basically a downzoning.”
Dale Street resident Barbara Sanders said she was concerned that if the church was allowed, her street would be become parking for churchgoers.
“We're directly behind them,” she said. “Will Dale Street become lined with vehicles at some point and time?”
Dorland said that under planning rules, places of worship must have one parking spot for every five members of the parish.
“At present time the congregation comprises 32 members,” he said, meaning the 10 spots are more than adequate.
And Morin said other than Wednesday evening and Sunday, the church won't be in use.
“The rest of the time the building is empty,” he said.