Church expansion approved

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Rev. Walter Hale says he needs more pews in his Nansemond Parkway church to keep the youth off the streets.

On Tuesday, the Suffolk Planning Commission unanimously approved the Tabernacle Baptist Church’s proposal to build an 8,752 square-foot, 296-seat sanctuary, an addition to its present church.

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Once the new building is constructed, the church plans to use the existing 3,960 square-foot edifice as a fellowship hall. But the approval must meet the scrutiny of City Council at its December meeting.

But one hurdle has been cleared.

When he addressed planning commissioners, Hale spoke of the need for more space to compensate for the influx of new members, particularly in the younger age group.

&uot;We are growing,&uot; Hale said. &uot;We have a lot of young children and we are trying to keep them off the streets and give them somewhere to go.&uot;

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners tabled a request from property owner, F. Lee hart III, to expand his auto body operation on Jackson Street to allow for a collision center.

The commissioners requested additional guarantees to ensure that aesthetic improvements would be made to the streets bordering the property. In an unusual twist, neither the applicant nor any

opponents were present to comment on the request.

Additionally, a proposal to rezone 61 acres on Shoulder’s Hill Road for a TND, Traditional Neighborhood Development, will be delayed until January, at the request of the applicant, Bob Arnette of Coastal Virginia Developers.

In a Nov. 16th letter to commissioners, Planning Director Scott Mills wrote, in part, &uot;In response to concerns relative to traffic impacts along the Shoulders Hill Road corridor, the applicant is in the process of further analyzing traffic generation rates.&uot;

The mixed-used development would be the first of its kind in Suffolk, featuring passive open green space, a dominant commercial center, and a neighborhood.