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Plan to convert Blue Hill Avenue doctor’s office into church denied by city's Zoning Board

Posted by Patrick Rosso  April 23, 2013 01:24 PM

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(Image courtesy Google Maps)

The location of the proposed church.

A proposal to convert a Blue Hill Avenue doctor’s office into a church was met with opposition Tuesday at its zoning hearing.

Newton Bailey, the owner of the property, was before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals Tuesday morning seeking permission to make the use change to the structure in Mattapan.

The board voted Tuesday to deny the project without prejudice, which allows the proponents to reapply for the zoning variance.

Some who attended the hearing expressed concerns about the project and the lack of parking provided.

Currently the property at 1537 Blue Hill Ave. has 11 parking spaces and the space for 44 parishioners.

Those who would like to open the Bethel Church of God at the location said they’d like to have space available for 60 parishioners. Proponents said they could also add three additional parking spaces to the site, bringing the total number of spaces up to 14.

Residents and members of the adjacent William E. Carter American Legion Post, however, said space in the neighborhood is tight.

"We already have seven churches in the area," said Robert Greene, the commander of the Carter post. "There is no more parking."

Proponents contended that the church, which would hold services on Saturday, would not impact parking.

There has also been no community process for the project, a requirement in the appeals process.

Both representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services and the Office of City Councilor Charles Yancey said they are opposed to the use change, but the representative from Yancey’s office urged the board to deny the project without prejudice so a community process could take place.

A community meeting for the project is expected to be held in Mattapan at a later date.

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