Planning board approves permit for downtown church

The city planning board unanimously approved a conditional use permit for a worship facility at 511 Central Ave.

Abram Baca, lead pastor of The Potter’s House, requested the permit since the space they lease in the building owned by Gary Hackett is zoned C-4 Central Business Core. In that zoning district, worship facilities are permitted with a CUP.

The Potter’s House has been using an interior suite since February 2020, according to the city.

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In March 2020, the church submitted a safety inspection certificate request and both Hackett and Baca were unaware that they needed a CUP in that zoning district.

The Potter’s House had signed a lease with Hackett before submitting the safety inspection request so the city issued the certificate with a condition that the church could occupy the space until Sept. 1, 2020, at which time the applicant needed to relocate or apply for a CUP.

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The applicant opted to apply for the CUP to remain at their current location.

Staff recommended approval of the permit and Neighborhood Council 7 voted 4-1 to recommend approval of the permit.

Since the City Commission adopted an ordinance that allows worship facilities and establishments that require a liquor license to operate in certain zoning districts with no distance requirements, city staff found no negative impacts of the permit.