The McPherson City Commission approved a Special Use Permit for the Journey Mennonite Church in McPherson to use the old south Dillons Building at 201 East Euclid Street in McPherson on Monday without restrictions on the amount of parking available to avoid potential conflict with federal regulations.
The City Planning Board had wanted to require the church to keep at least 70 of the existing paved parking spaces and to allow the Planning Commission to review the parking situation in three years to determine if additional parking spaces would be required.
However, the City Commission approved the ordinance without those restrictions, as the B-3 Central Business District in which the site is located does not require any off-street parking and Federal legislation, The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act which was passed by Congress in 2000 does not allow for religious organizations to be zoned more restrictively than other businesses within the same zoning district.
So, in order to avoid conflict with that regulation, the City passed the ordinance allowing the special use without any restrictions.
McPherson Community Development Director Tom Steinmetze told Mid Kansas Online that there are currently 84 parking spaces in the current lots.
Steinmetze said, "However, with modifications to the building for the front entrance, and changing some of those parking places to handicapped, they're probably going to lose about four spaces."
Steinmetze also noted for the commission that if the church grows and wishes to expand its footprint, the only way to do that is to take more parking spaces from those lots.
The Commission passed the Special Use Permit 3-0.