It looks like September will be a month of fireworks at the Board of Adjustment.
Tuesday, the board will hear Iron Gate’s proposal to move its soup kitchen and food pantry from downtown to the Pearl District.
Two weeks later, on Sept. 22, the board is expected to hear another contentious case.
The Church at Midtown, 3819 S. Lewis Ave., wants to modify its site plan to accommodate a planned expansion of its sanctuary.
Some neighborhood residents aren’t thrilled about it, to say the least.
“The neighbors are going to fight this vigorously,” said community activist Herb Beattie.
The Church at Midtown is a beautiful, well-manicured property that sits among other beautiful, well-manicured properties in the neighborhood.
The size of the proposed auditorium expansion — it would seat 635 — troubles some neighborhood residents, Beattie said, but the real concern revolves around the additional traffic and parking problems the expanded church would create on Sundays.
The church buses worshippers in for services every Sunday, limiting access into the neighborhood for emergency vehicles and creating a lot of noise during outdoor functions, according to some neighborhood residents.
“The problem is, this church is growing 35 percent each year,” Beattie said.
Church officials were not available for comment Friday.
When the Church at Midtown case is finally heard, the Board of Adjustment will use the same criteria in weighing that case as it will in weighing the Iron Gate application: Is the project “in harmony with the spirit and intent of the code, and will (it) not be injurious to the neighborhood or otherwise detrimental to the public welfare,” as the zoning code requires .
If, by chance, you are not familiar with the Iron Gate case, here is a quick summary.
Iron Gate is a not-for-profit that for years has fed people and provide groceries out of the basement of the Trinity Episcopal Church, 501 S. Cincinnati Ave.
Now the organization wants to move to the Pearl District, where it would like to build a 16,000-square-foot soup kitchen and pantry at 302 S. Peoria Ave.
Iron Gate has outgrown its facility. The Pearl District location was one of 27 sites considered and ultimately was determined to be the best option because it is on a bus route, the lot size is sufficient to build and it is centrally located for Iron Gate’s clients, Iron Gate officials say.
“This one happened to check a lot of boxes,” Iron Gate’s Shane Saunders said recently.
Some Pearl District residents and property owners oppose the move, saying the soup kitchen — which would draw the homeless and needy from around town — could bring with it such problems as loitering, theft and other social ills.
They also argue that the district is already home to its fair share of social service agencies.
To a man, opponents of the move have said they support Iron Gate’s mission. They simply believe the Pearl District is the wrong place to build the new facility.
To learn more about the issue, check out our Listen Frontier podcast on the debate.
Tuesday’s Board of Adjustment meeting is at 1 p.m. in City Council chambers of City Hall, Second Street and Cincinnati Avenue.
A final note: The Church of Midtown’s case is scheduled to be heard Tuesday, but neighborhood residents are seeking a continuance to Sept. 22. The continuance is expected to be granted.