WESTMINSTER — Hoping to build a new sanctuary with seating for 400 people, membersof the First United Presbyterian Church on Washington Road are seeking an extension to their special exception.
Under the city's zoning ordinance, churches are considered special exceptions within residential areas.
Any additions or changes to the original proposal must be approved by the city Board of Zoning Appeals.
Church members hope to build in three phases, adding the new sanctuary, office space and an activity wing.
Plans also would allow further sanctuary expansion, if needed.
The current auditorium, which seats 180 people, will be used as a fellowship hall.
Church membership, which has increased by15 percent this year, equals 213.
In addition, the church runs a Christian play school for 250 children three to five years old.
Classes are spaced in morning and afternoon since state law only allowsthem to care for 60 children at one time.
The church also provides space for several community groups -- such as the Boy and Girl Scouts -- and lends the B'nai Israel congregation space one Friday a month.
Although no objections were raised at the public hearing Fridaymorning, two neighbors questioned whether the plans were preliminaryor final.
Both were assured that further citizen comment would betaken before final site plans were approved by the city planning andzoning commission.
The board will make a final decision in the next few weeks.