Salty Church growth spurs beachside parking discussion.
The City Commission will face three decisions at upcoming meetings that will affect the downtown district, consisting of Granada Boulevard and a few blocks north and south.
Salty Church, at Bovard Avenue and Vining Court, is seeking to add a building to allow for future growth, bringing more people to their five weekly services. Commissioners will hear the proposal on March 21 in only one reading.
Two proposals that would affect the appearance of downtown will get two readings, March 21 and April 2. A business owner is seeking permission for an animated neon sign, and Ormond MainStreet wants murals in the downtown, such as those found in DeLand.
Salty Church seeks approval to build a 6,457 square-foot assembly hall to the west of the present building and expand the parking to the west of the buildings. New landscaping would be included and some parking would be on grass to retain pervious surfaces.
At the Planning Board meeting on Feb. 7, parking issues dominated the conversation but ultimately the board unanimously voted to recommend that the Commission approve the project.
The city would require 121 parking spaces if the new building is constructed and the site plan shows 98 spaces. But through an agreement, the church can utilize 47 spaces at the 200 East building across Coquina Avenue, and there are 11 at the old firehouse on West Granada Boulevard, which the church now owns, according to the meeting agenda.
The nearby public parking along Coquina Court and Vining Court was not calculated in the required parking, but it’s available to anyone, including church attendees.
“I foresee that being used,” said board member Harold Briley. He said he imagines that Lulu’s Oceanside Grille also uses the street parking.
Planning Director Steven Spraker responded that Lulu’s customers probably also use nearby businesses such as CVS pharmacy. He said the city would rather have businesses share parking than to build a lot that’s only used at certain times.
“That area has not demonstrated a need for a parking lot,” Spraker said.
Board member G.G. Galloway asked if shared parking could be saturated, and Spraker responded that each new project is approved based on the current parking situation.
A tour of the area after the meeting showed that CVS does not have no-parking signs, but other businesses on the block have “Tow-Away Zone” signs. The sign at the church says, “Salty Church Parking Only.”
The current parking area for Salty Church was a privately-owned, paid-parking lot for people going to the beach or nearby businesses until 2014, when the church bought the lot.
The church currently has a service on Thursday and Friday, and three services on Sunday, with about 300 attending the 9 a.m. service, 350 at 10 a.m. and 200 at noon, according to church representives. The seating capacity of the new addition is estimated at 670 people.
According to the meeting agenda material, the church also has 70 other spaces through parking agreements with other businesses in the area that are not listed on the application for the special exception.
CLANG WENT THE TROLLEY
During the public comment session, Linda Williams, who lives on Bosarvey Drive, said she hopes city officials can keep the increased traffic from the neighborhoods, because people are cutting through to avoid Granada Boulevard.
She also suggested trollies be utilized. A trolley traveling back and forth across the Granada Bridge would allow pedestrian access to the area and also allow them to get across Granada Boulevard. There are shops and restaurants on both sides of the busy thoroughfare.
“I’m hoping for a more walkable community,” Williams said.
NEON SIGNS AND MURALS
Highlander Corp., owned by developer Bill Jones, seeks to have a neon, animated sign at a planned Japanese restaurant that would be located in the building at 26 N. Beach St., Suite B. The ordinance would only allow neon, and not a television picture. The signs could be animated but no wording would be allowed.
“Downtown is becoming more vibrant,” said Dorian Burt, Jones’ representative.
The example showed at the meeting was a drawing of a puffer fish increasing in size in three stages and then decreasing.
City Attorney Randy Hayes cautioned the Planning Board that they would be amending the sign ordinance, which must be content-neutral. Once they approve a neon sign for the location, they cannot control what images appear on the sign.
The Planning Board recommended the City Commission approve the request, with any future neon signs being a special exception, meaning they would each need approval by the City Commission.
There was no word about when a Japanese restaurant would be constructed at the site.
Also coming to the City Commission will be a request by Ormond MainStreet to allow murals on buildings. The program would be administered by Ormond MainStreet and each mural would be approved by the Arts District board and then the City Commission.
Hayes said the murals would be art and not signage, so the city would have control over the content.
The Planning Board members agreed that enough safeguards were in place with the approval process and voted unanimously to recommend approval by the City Commission.
“I think they will add an eclectic, fun element,” said board member Lori Tolland.
“Downtown is becoming more vibrant.”
DORIAN BURT, Highlander Corp. representative