Board of Zoning Appeals

Nolensville Town Hall

June 12, 2008- 7:00 p.m.

Members present were: Chair Bob Haines, Tommy Dugger, Charles Lawson and Ken Norman. Member Brian Truman was absent.  Staff present was Building Official Michael Blanks, Attorney Robert Notestine and Judy Simerson, Building/Codes Department.  

Applicants present: R. Darwin Shockley, Architect for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Matt Taylor with SEC, Inc.  Robert Johnson and Terry Leve representing the church were also present. 

Citizens present: Bette and Karen Shell, 1645 Sunset Road and James and Christine Childress, 1648 Sunset Road.  

Chair Haines called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.   

Announcements: 

Chair Haines asked that all cell phones be placed on vibrate and then went over the procedures of the meeting. 

Approval of Minutes:

Commissioner Dugger made a motion to approve the minutes from May 8, 2008 and Commission Lawson seconded.  The minutes were unanimously approved. 

Citizen’s Comments:

There were no citizen’s comments. 

New Business: 

Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints – Applicant requests approval for a religious institution building to be located at 1646-A &1646-B Sunset Road 

Chair Haines stated the applicant, Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, was seeking approval for a religious institution building to be located at 1646-A and 1646-B Sunset Road under the permitted with condition section of Article 2.3.5 of the zoning ordinance.  He requested that the individual representing the church make a presentation.

Mr. Darwin Shockley stated he was the architect representing the applicant.  He introduced Matt Taylor with SEC, Inc, who prepared the civil drawings and Robert Johnson and Terry Leve, who are associated with the church. 

Mr. Blanks stated that he and Town Planner Henry Laird have reviewed this request.  The applicant meets all of the conditions required for approval.

Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints – Applicant requests approval for a religious institution building to be located at 1646-A & 1646-B Sunset Road – Cont’d 

Counsel Notestine stated that Commissioner Truman was absent but had sent him an e-mail to be read at the meeting so his comments would be a part of the public record.  The email stated: 

“I’m sending this email to let you know I will be absent from our meeting on June 12th and am sad I will miss this meeting because I have particular interest in the outcome.  I would encourage each of you to vote in favor of the action item on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting.  That being said, and if I was in attendance for the meeting, I would withdraw from voting on the agenda item because I’m a member of the church before you tonight.  I don’t want to show even a hint of a conflict of interest.” 

Motion by Mr. Dugger, seconded by Mr. Norman, for approval, by the request application meeting the Uses Permitted with Conditions, Section Article 2.3.5, Religious Institution, of the zoning ordinance. 

Chair Haines asked for any public comment. 

Ms. Bette Shell, 1645 Sunset Road, stated she and her daughter owned the property across the street from the proposed church location.  She distributed a statement that outlined some of their concerns.  She stated they have been residents for twelve (12) years.  Their concerns regarding the location of a church were increased traffic, noise, road and land usage, lighting and zoning issues.  She stated there have been traffic problems with the addition of two large subdivisions on Sunset Road and the addition of neighborhood schools. She also cited water shortage problems and some disagreements she had with the Benington Subdivision when it was built.  She stated that two-thirds of their property which has a 360’ frontage is directly across from the proposed church location, and they already have problems getting out of their property due to the increased traffic in the area. 

Chair Haines asked the applicant if they had any comments they would like to make. 

Mr. Shockley stated that on an average day, there would only be 10-20 people on the church property on Monday through Saturday.  The normal traffic is only on Sunday mornings.  Regarding noise, there are no outdoor activities planned. 

Ms. Shell asked if the church would be a ward or a stake house because she had previously lived in Salt Lake City near a Mormon church.  Mr. Shockley stated there would be two formal services on Sunday morning between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. with an average of 150 people at each service.  Regarding the property being used as a stake house, Mr. Shockley stated it was the policy of the Latter Day Saints to erect a new facility when the population for the services increased.  This property would not be used as a stake house.  He stated there would be 170-190 parking spaces with a 30-foot landscape buffer all around the property lines.  The building would be very residential in nature with a steeple.  It is not a large scale building.   

Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints – Applicant requests approval for a religious institution building to be located at 1646-A & 1646-B Sunset Road – Cont’d 

Chair Haines explained to the residents present that the purpose of the BZA meeting was to approve a valid claim for this facility.  The issues regarding traffic, noise, road and land usage, lighting and zoning would all be addressed at the Planning Commission at their meeting, and they would have the ultimate authority.  The BZA does not have the power to address those issues.  He encouraged the residents to attend those meetings if and when this project comes forward for approval to address their concerns. 

Regarding the sanitary sewer installation, Mr. Shockley stated Mr. Taylor with SEC, Inc. has a meeting with Metro Water and Sewer tomorrow to address sewer issues and requirements that are necessary before proceeding with this proposed project.  In prior projects in other jurisdictions, he stated that the area residents usually become more comfortable with the project as it proceeds through the various stages of approval.  In the past, they have held meetings with the area residents to answer any questions they might have concerning the project.  He stated they would do everything in their power to address any concerns by the residents.   

Mr. Johnson spoke up and stated the church wanted to be neighbor friendly.  The ward is what you would think of as an individual congregation and a stake would be several congregations. This building will have a stake office, but it is not being built as a stake center.  The size of the footprint of the building is for a regular meeting house building. 

Mr. Shockley stated the chapel seating for this building would be 254.  When he referred to the   building being used twice a year at capacity, the capacity number would be 610.   

Mrs. James Childress asked a question about notification about the project as it moved forward through the approval process.  Counsel Notestine advised that churches fall within the permitted uses in residential areas.  There are about five or six criteria that religious institutions must meet.  Mr. Blanks has stated yes, this church does meet those criteria at this stage of the approval process.  Approval of this project tonight will move the project along for the zoning and permitted use.  A hearing and approval will still be required by the Planning Commission.  Substantial site plan drawings will be required for that meeting, and more details will be provided at that time.  Public notices will be sent out prior to the meeting. 

Chair Haines encouraged the citizens present to come to the Planning Commission meeting when this request is heard.  Counsel Notestine stated the town will not take any further action with this project until the developer comes back with additional plans for review, etc.   

Mr. Darwin stated the civil engineer has a meeting with Metro Water and Sewer tomorrow regarding the connection for sanitary sewer service.  He stated this development would be bearing the cost of providing a public sanitary sewer line, and they would be willing to work with the neighbors that do not have sanitary sewer service for connection.  It is a huge cost, but if it does work out, this would be beneficial to the neighbors presently on septic tanks. 

Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints – Applicant requests approval for a religious institution building to be located at 1646-A & 1646-B Sunset Road – Cont’d 

In answer to questions about the trees and storm water issues, Mr. Shockley stated that everything would be in compliance with all town ordinances. Counsel Notestine stated that the development would have to pass all the town ordinances prior to approval.  It will be looked at very closely. 

Chair Haines closed the public hearing.  He advised the citizens that the agendas for the all the commission meetings are posted on the town’s webpage.    

Commissioner Dugger stated he felt the neighbors had some legitimate concerns, and these would be addressed by the Planning Commission members. He stated he felt the church met the criteria and that is why he supported the motion.  Counsel Notestine stated the town has a Storm Water Board now and the credentials of the board members are quite impressive. 

The vote was taken and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. 

Adjournment: 

Commissioner Dugger made a motion to adjourn, and Commissioner Norman seconded the motion.  The meeting adjourned by acclamation at 7:40 p.m.