The Ridge Community Church moved one step closer to permanently moving to Greenfield – again.
More than six months after the city rezoned land on Layton Avenue so that the Ridge could build a church in a residential area – that deal fell through at the last minute – the city once again paved the way for the Ridge to something even more dramatic.
On Tuesday, the Greenfield Common Council voted to amend the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan at 4500 S. 108th Street, a nine-parcel piece of land that currently houses Walmart, from planned business to planned mixed us and rezoned the property from regional business district to planned unit development.
The moves open the door for the Ridge, which has an accepted offer-to-purchase the entire property, to use approximately 60,000 square feet of the property for church-related functions with the rest of the building, or 50,000 square feet, to be leased commercial space.
“We’re really excited about it because we feel it’s a win-win, not only for us but for the city as well,” said Pastor Mark Weigt, who was joined by 50-60 members of the Ridge’s congregation.”
No residents spoke out against the church at Tuesday’s public hearing, though two sent letters that voiced their displeasure with the proposal. Both raised concerns about what the rezoning would do to the city’s tax base. Churches are tax-exempt, but Weigt tried to ease those concerns.
“We are committed to protecting a portion of the property taxes on that facility, no matter who leases that out in the future,” Weigt said. “We look forward to being part of this community in this way.”
Steve Anderson, president and CEO of Anderson Commercial Group, told the Common Council that he has been in discussions with several possible tenants, but could not share any of those potential tenants.
Alderperson Thomas Pietrowski voted against the change in the comprehensive land use plan and the rezoning.
“Having a church on a valuable piece of commercial property really underutilizes the piece of property,” Pietrowski said.
The next step for the church to present a building design to the city.