Tremont Baptist wants rehearing on demo request

lmorris@macon.comFebruary 8, 2014 

Tremont

Tremont Temple Missionary Baptist Church in downtown Macon is seen in early November. According to plans filed with Macon-Bibb Planning & Zoning Commission, a developer wants to demolish the church at 860 Forsyth St. and replace it with a Dunkin’ Donuts.

WOODY MARSHALL — wmarshall@macon.com Buy Photo

The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission is expected to consider a rehearing request Monday about the possible demolition of Tremont Temple Baptist Church in downtown.

In a 4-1 vote Dec. 9, the commission denied an application that would have allowed the demolition of the church at 860 Forsyth St. that was built in 1897.

In order to get a rehearing, Tremont has to submit “new or additional written information” that was not available at the original hearing. The church said in a letter to the commission that it has submitted “three new pieces of information” for the commission to consider.

A letter dated Dec. 23, 2013, from John Kern, president of Kern & Co. consulting engineers, details an analysis of the building’s structure.

“There are large openings in the roof that allow water to enter the facility. Major water damage has occurred in the sanctuary due to the roof opening. Water damage (to the roof, sanctuary ceiling, floor and pews) has occurred. ... There are many loose and missing bricks.

“Due to the substantial roof structure damage, it is my concern that the roof structure will fail causing the wall to collapse. It is my opinion that this structure is in danger of imminent collapse. I strongly recommend that the lane along the church next to the hospital parking lot be closed until this structure can be demolished.”

Based on information in the engineer’s report, Tom Buttram, director of the Macon-Bibb County Department of Inspection and Fees, wrote a Jan. 6 letter to Tremont saying it had put up a barrier to prevent traffic on the lane beside the church.

The letter said Tremont is “required to present a plan for stabilization or demolition of the structure” before 4 p.m. Monday.

In addition, the church has submitted a preliminary estimate of $623,000 from Macon-based Piedmont Construction Co. to stabilize the church building.

Prior to the original demolition request, the church had obtained a contract to sell the property after the demolition, and it remains under contract. A developer planned to build a Dunkin’ Donuts on the site after the church was razed.

From the time the matter was first heard Nov. 12, talk of demolishing the vacant church building drew opposition from the Historic Macon Foundation led by Executive Director Josh Rogers. The historic group has offered to buy the property for the same contracted price the church has with Lou Patel of D&D Middle Ga. LLC.

A letter from the church signed by the Rev. Camile Holmes says the church “cannot, nor does it wish, to stabilize the building. ... It is our contention that the ruling currently under appeal clearly interfered with the current and binding contract between Tremont and Dunkin Donut franchisee Lou Patel for the property.”

The planning and zoning meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. in the 10th floor conference room, Willie C. Hill City Hall Annex, 682 Cherry St.

Other items on the agenda are:

CONDITIONAL USES:

3272 Jeffersonville Road: Conditional use to allow a worship center, C-2 District. Bishop Allen Shuler; Victory Temple Church of Creative Language, applicant.

4689 Ivey Drive: Conditional use to allow a place of worship in an existing building, PDC District. New Life Church, applicant.

5886 Columbus Road: Conditional use to allow an auto recovery service in an existing building, PDE District. Tad Hunnicutt, applicant.

SIGNS:

6258 Thomaston Road: Variance in distance from a residential structure to allow an electronic graphic display sign (EGD), A-Agricultural District. The Sign Store; The Well, applicant.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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