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City Council gives downtown church six months

An Anderson, S.C., church hoping to gain a foothold in Thomson will get six months to find a new place to worship.

The Zion Church of the Lord Jesus Christ had asked City of Thomson leaders to rezone property on Railroad Street - the old Felicity's building - for use as a church. Their request went before the city planning commission in November, where members recommended that city council members allow the church to temporarily use the building.

Last Thursday night, the city council did just that, with the stipulation that the church look for another location in the meantime.

"You've got a small building," said Thomson Mayor Bob Knox. "It won't take you long to outgrow it."

The storefront has about 1,000 square feet, officials said. That's OK for the church now, which has three local members and busses in other members from Anderson, said Andrew Slaughter - who was representing a dozen or so congregation members at the city council meeting.

The temporary use - called a "conditional use" - is also what city council members approved for members of Grace Community Fellowship. That church - which is also located on Railroad Street - originally asked for a year, then applied for an extension while their new sanctuary is being built. The church should move into their new building in the next few moths.

Mayor Knox said he wanted to help Zion Church but was concerned about filling the building with a church instead of a business.

"Storefront churches are really not what that property was intended for," he said.

And with plans to change the layout of Railroad Street and other potential development in the area looming, the Mayor said establishing a plan that eventually places the church elsewhere was most appropriate.

"We don't want to be unfair to you ... but this is something that is important to our overall vision of our community," he said.



Web posted on Wednesday, January 18, 2006











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