St. Patrick’s is growing: More classrooms, offices and event space are planned

St. Patrick’s Presbyterian Church will add more classrooms, offices and multipurpose space in an expansion that got Board of Mayor and Aldermen approval September 24.

Scott Henninger, Project Planner, presented a proposed preliminary site plan from St. Patrick’s for an 11,240-square-foot addition located on 5.51 acres at 710 W. White Rd. east of Byhalia Road.  The church, constructed in 2014, is currently 16,180 square feet; the addition will add 41 percent to the total building area.

Building materials for the addition will match the existing building, Henninger said, and the project includes new sidewalks along the addition and a large concrete patio for outdoor events.

He detailed some of the issues related to the project, noting the church is surrounded by established residential neighborhoods to the north and east, vacant residential land to the west and south, Faith Lutheran Church to the southwest, and partially improved roadways.

Parking does not pose a problem, he said: The church’s recently-expanded parking lot has 213 spaces, so no additional spots are needed or proposed to go along with the addition.

As for traffic, Henninger said a report states the addition and new programming could have an increased impact on the adjacent roadways, Byhalia Road and White Road.  A traffic study was not required when the church was built in 2014, but the addition will bring more classrooms and office space while providing a large multipurpose area for assembly and conference use; and the large concrete patio will host outdoor events.

“Though there is no additional parking or sanctuary seating, traffic counts may increase over existing conditions depending on the programming and frequency of use in the addition,†Henninger noted. “Even with the multipurpose space it is likely the average daily counts will not exceed the traffic counts based on gross floor area.â€

Elsewhere, regarding drainage, Henninger said in order to mitigate impacts from additional impervious surface being created with the addition, offsite improvements are required on the adjacent lot owned by the church. That lot already includes one detention basin, and a new detention basin that will drain to an existing inlet near the end of Royal Crown Drive along the east property line will be built for the addition.

Henninger said a detailed stormwater analysis with all detention pond calculations will be required with the final site plan.

Also, he said, additional landscaping is needed to ensure that 30 to 40 percent of the foundation is landscaped and that services, utilities, etc. are adequately screened.

Finally, the Board considered whether to require improvements to Byhalia Road due to the fact that the new detention basin is considered a development.

The Planning Commission recommended road improvements were not needed at this time since no new buildings are proposed, but Henninger said the final decision was up to the BMA.

He added the proposed improvements, which would include the installation of approximately 795 feet of curb, gutter and sidewalk along the east side of Byhalia – presently, an asphalt path extends along the east side of the road where a future cement sidewalk would be located – would cost $82,000.

The Board opted not to require the Byhalia Road improvements at this time, agreeing with remarks from Alderman Billy Patton that it can wait until future work at the church. “It’s great that you’re expanding, but I think you’re going to need more parking,†Patton said. “To me, the triggering point for Byhalia Road will be when you request additional parking.â€

Representatives for the developer agreed that is appropriate.

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