The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints might be able to call Greenfield home after all.
The Mormon Church has been in discussions with the owners of Arlington Park Cemetery, 4001 S. 27th St., according to Planning Commission notes prepared for the Oct. 9 meeting.
Church officials are interested in approximately 5 acres at the northwest end of the cemetery’s lot at the intersection of Howard Avenue and Loomis Road, directly across the street from Grainger’s Pub and just east of Zablocki Park.
A preliminary site layout plan shows a 17,217-square-foot church and a 185-car parking lot. Right now, the lot is a grassy area with a few trees.
The proposal does face a few hurdles, as was the case the first time the Latter-Day Saints church tried to move into Greenfield. In 2008, when the city’s comprehensive land use plan was being finalized, Arlington Park Cemetery owners had expressed an interest in designating that corner of the parcel as “mixed residential” for a potential future multi-family use.
But the zoning for the entire 100-acre tax-exempt parcel remained institutional. That the land is already tax-exempt makes it particularly attractive to church officials, according to the notes.
The city, however, would have to approve a land use plan change and replace the “mixed residential” designation with “community facilities,” the designation for the remainder of the cemetery’s parcel.
"It’s certainly a very positive proposal," Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke said. "We’ve worked long and hard to find a place that dampened the objections that accompanied their original look at 35th and Barnard by the middle school. The traffic and neighborhood issues don’t exist at this location, and it is zoned institutional already. It adds a great presence to the entrance of our city on Loomis."
In August 2011, the City of Greenfield’s Common Council voted 3-2 against rezoning land at 35th Street and Barnard Avenue from residential to institutional. The proposal faced opposition from neighbors, and alderpersons who voted against the rezoning cited traffic concerns.
At that time, Antone Bonner, Stake President of the Milwaukee Wisconsin South Stake of the LDS, said Greenfield was a good, centrally located area for his church’s members and that they’d continue to look for Greenfield locations that worked.
The land use plan change proposal will be heard by the Planning Commission at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9, at City Hall.