FD Board of Adjustment considers church plans

Harvest Baptist Church won approval Tuesday for its plan to add an auditorium onto the former Federal Building to house its worship services.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church didn’t fare as well with the Fort Dodge Board of Adjustment Tuesday. That panel rejected the church’s bid to create a new parking lot on First Avenue South.

Also during Tuesday’s session, the board granted approval for a new day care center downtown.

Harvest Baptist plan

Harvest Baptist Church bought the former Federal Building at 205 S. Eighth St. from Dayle Frye, of Fort Dodge, in August 2012. The church’s educational functions, including Harvest Baptist Bible College, were gradually moved from their location at 614 Second Ave. S. to the new site. The church’s publications and printing ministry was also moved.

The congregation now has plans for a 10,000- square-foot auditorium on the building’s south side. After that is completed, worship services will be moved from the Second Avenue South location to the new auditorium. A time frame for the construction wasn’t announced Tuesday.

The Rev. Marvin E. Smith III, the church’s pastor, told the board that discussions for the sale of the Second Avenue South property are already underway.

The college, other educational functions and the church office are all permitted in the downtown zoning district. However, the auditorium for worship services required the approval of a special exception by the board. Board Chairwoman Susan Hayden was absent from the otherwise unanimous vote to approve the special exception.

The board also voted to allow Harvest Baptist Church to have fewer than the required number of parking spaces on the property. According to Carissa Miller, the associate city planner, 113 spaces would be required. The church will have 90 parking spaces. It owns the lot immediately east of the building. It also has purchased a vacant lot at Third Avenue South and Eighth Street for use as a parking lot.

St. Mark’s plan

The congregation of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1001 First Ave. S., proposed building a new parking lot so that a playground could be built on part of the existing one.

The new lot would be along First Avenue South, east of the church, on ground it leases from the Ann Smeltzer Charitable Trust.

The board rejected the church’s request for a variance from zoning law on the grounds that the lot can be designed in a way that complies with the regulations.

”I think this can be done with a little bit of tweaking,” board member Steve Hoesel said. ”We want to see this succeed in some form.”

”I think you have options viable options,” he told church representatives at the meeting.

Board members also voted to approve the establishment of a child day care center at 33 N. 12th St. called Sharon’s Angels LLC.

The day care will be located in a former gift shop. Its opening date was not announced Tuesday.