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Planning Commission approves relocation of east Sparks church
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
Jul 18, 2013 | 1247 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo -- The Sparks Planning Commission approved the Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church to relocate to the Vineyard Professional Campus on Sparks Boulevard where it plans to expand its operation to include classrooms and a large "sanctuary" for Sunday services.
Tribune photo -- The Sparks Planning Commission approved the Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church to relocate to the Vineyard Professional Campus on Sparks Boulevard where it plans to expand its operation to include classrooms and a large "sanctuary" for Sunday services.
The Sparks Planning Commission approved a special-use permit Thursday evening for the Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church to move its operation from Vista Boulevard to Sparks Boulevard where it will have ample space to expand its services.

The east Sparks church will move to the Vineyard Professional Campus on Sparks Boulevard, which houses businesses for dentistry, management and payroll systems and one other church. Spanish Springs Presbyterian will move to a more than 5,900 square-foot property at 4884 Sparks Blvd., allowing it to use multiple classrooms and a “sanctuary” for Sunday services.

Karen Melby, Senior Planner with the City of Sparks, said the church has been located in the Aspen Glen complex for nearly 10 years and the special-use permit issued by the Sparks Planning Commission will allow the church to take over the new building and expand from within.

“Initially they want to have a sanctuary with 122 seats and what they would eventually like to do is add two more classrooms and make a sanctuary for 178 people,” Melby said during a study session for the Planning Commission on Tuesday. “I felt that because it is all interior that we could include the expansion within the special-use permit so they do not have to come back and do an amendment. If they were doing an addition, I could understand them having to come back for approval, but it seems like a little much to have them come back for that.”

While preparing the report for the Planning Commission, Melby was contacted by three Sparks residents in the area who were against Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church relocating to the Vineyard Professional Complex. Larry Fuller, a resident living across from the address, said in a letter it was a “business complex and ‘businesses’ that operate outside the usual eight to six hours are not needed.” He added that “space fillers that require ‘special permits’” were unnecessary.

Rosemary Loven, who operates Vineyard Executive Suites inside the complex, said her clients were affected by the parking of people attending Horizon Church at 4878 Sparks Blvd., citing “overuse of parking, inundation by their members and their children, the noise from their service.”

“Vineyards Professional Campus is a business park,” Loven wrote to Melby. “And the use of one of the buildings bordering on Sparks Boulevard for a purpose other than business is destructive of the image those of us who have withstood the poor economy have endeavored to maintain.”

When addressing the concerns in front of the Planning Commission, Melby said she did not feel parking was going to be an issue with Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church and added that the weekend hours would not conflict with other businesses who are operating Monday through Friday.

“The site has plenty of parking,” Melby said, “And during the parking analysis, I didn’t see any potential issue with the parking at all. When I did the parking calculations, that complex is in three clusters of buildings and I only looked at the parking in the northern cluster where they will be. There was more than enough parking just looking at the northern cluster, and that is all common area with 400 parking spaces on the whole property. I don’t see how there would be a parking problem.”

The other item on the Sparks Planning Commission agenda, which proposed a two-part amendment to the Sparks Municipal Code, was also approved.

Chapter 20.40 of the Sparks Municipal Code, concerning parking, was amended to align the results of a zoning code study done to identify and remove barriers in the city’s system. The city’s planning team held two workshops with the Sparks City Council before bringing the report to the Planning Commission.

The first change affects the off-site street parking requirements in the Industrial Zone and allows parking for nonresidential uses to be located off-site within 500 feet of the use it serves. However, accessible parking spaces as required by ADA Standards must be provided on site. Melby said the current code only allows up to 40 percent of parking off site and added that if the off-site parking is longer available when the business license is renewed it will be declined.

The second change allows any nonresidential development to have an alternative parking space requirement to the approval of the administrator. The developer can propose a different parking standard for their project than is stipulated in the parking code section of the zoning code.

According to Melby, currently the regulation only applies to sites five acres or larger. This allows any site to propose a different parking requirement than provided in the parking code, providing more flexibility in design for projects and addressing uses that do not fit directly into one of the listed uses.
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