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Wayland Christian Reformed Church expansion plans OK’d

The Wayland City PlannDaniel J. Bodeing Commission Tuesday evening approved, with several conditions, a proposed site plan from Wayland Christian Reformed Church for expansion of its current building near the corner of Forrest and Elm streets.

The church now has a special land use as a church located in a residential neighborhood. Officials have reported they want to add 7,100 square feet and increase parking lot size by 17 spaces.

There was considerable discussion about landscaping, fencing, setback requirements, lighting and the need for a traffic study. It was these last two that became the conditions.

Daniel J. Bode, chief operating officer of the Architectural Group of Grandville, which is designing the expansion, told the commission there was no stipulation for a traffic study to be done in 2004, when church officials last approached the city.

Noting a traffic study would cost about $4,000, Bode said, “That’s just one more thing the church will have to pay for.”

Planning consultant Janis Johnson of Wade Trim replied, “It’s a church in a residential neighborhood. That’s why that (traffic study stipulation) was put in there.”

City Manager Mike Selden said though the Planning Commission 11 years ago did not require the study, “that puts them in non-compliance with their own special use plan,” and the situation could present legal problems in the future for the city.

“It’s an opportunity to right a wrong,” Selen explained.

Another condition is that outdoor lights for the lots must be lowered from 24 to 20 feet. The church has three, but will eliminate one.

“The church is willing to make those adjustments,” Bode said. “There is no problem.”

Otherwise, there was a lot of agreement between city and church officials. Some commission remarked that they were impressed with the plans.

Commissioner Gary Ragan said, “I think it looks woderful the way they have it.”

Commissioner Virgil Gleason said he has no doubt Wayland Christian Reformed Church as been a good neighbor since it came to this location almost 60 years ago.

“Most of the people who live in that neighborhood moved in after the church was there,” Gleason said. “So they’ve bought in to what it looks like. It has already appealed to them.”

Church officials said the expansion will allow up to 350 people to attend services in the sanctuary, 100 more than current capacity.

PHOTO: Daniel J. Bode of the Architectural Group shows Planning Commission members some of the plans for the Wayland Christian Reformed Church expansion.

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