Following a unanimous recommendation from the City Planning Commission, the Granite Falls City Council in a 4-2 vote granted a Special Use Permit to Rock Haven Church that will allow the congregation to locate its church at the site of the former Rittmiller auto dealership along Highway 212.
"We'd like to say thank you to the city, you addressed this very expeditiously" said Brian Barber speaking on behalf of several Rock Haven community members present for the decision.
"The process does take some time." responded Mayor Dave Smiglewksi in acknowledgement of the church’s patience.
To which Rock Haven Pastor John McCosh noted, "All good things do,"
Rock Haven representatives first approached the city about changing the city charter back in April after parish members were informed that council would need to alter the town's ordinance to allow a church to locate beside Highway 212, within a C-1 commercial/industrial zoned district, via permit.
Council members voted to hold two readings articulating the charter’s new language during consecutive city council meetings, the last of which was held May 21. The amendment went into effect when it was published in the newspaper after the reading––allowing the planning commission and then the council to consider the granting of the Special Use Permit.
Councilmen Bill Miller and Joe Fagnano both voted in opposition to the permit's issuance out of the belief that the property should remain a C-1 commercial/industrial zone. Those voting in favor noted in previous meetings that the lot has been vacant and for sale for over four years and that it would be appropriate for the council to cater to the 80-plus families that comprise the congregation after alternative sites for the church were found not to be feasible.
According to Barber, the church intends to finalize financing of the buildings purchase and will then need to obtain a number of structural related permits before remodeling can begin. At present, congregation has a goal of moving into the facility August 1.
In other news:
•The council adopted a resolution requesting an Order for Correction or Removal of Hazardous Structure for the Paulson’s Auto Service property owned by Terry Paulson along Highway 212 next to Subway.
The order gives Paulson 20 days following its issuance to clean up structural and related hazards outlined by City Building Inspector Darin Haslip. If the remedies are not made, the city would have the authority to perform the clean up itself and then charge the expenses to the property.
•Council approved a bid for the 2012 Airport improvements consisting of the removal of runway obstructions in addition to runway crack and joint repair. The total cost of the project was estimated at $128,000 but the approved bid of $95,831 from Farhner Asphalt came in well below estimates.
Page 2 of 2 - Of the projects total cost, 20 percent will be funded locally and 80 percent by the state.
•The council discussed storm sewer work in the industrial park, water main projects on 9th and 14th streets and drainage issues in the backyard of an 8th Avenue home. The city is still working out the method of funding and timeline for the projects that lumped together would cost the city approximately $430,000.